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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2584

UNESCO Director General skillfully avoided apology and retraction

Paris, 08 December, (Asiantribune.com): Director-General of UNESCO Koïchiro Matsuura has skillfully avoided the issue of retraction and apology for condemning the Sri Lanka Government for bombing and killing journalists of the Voice of Tigers radio located in Kilinochchi, on 27 November. He has ingeniously distracted the main issue by his strong condemnation of terrorism. There was  no mention about either  retraction or appology in the press statement  by Koïchiro MatsuuraThere was no mention about either retraction or appology in the press statement by Koïchiro Matsuura

It is now obvious that the status quo of his previous condemnation still remain unaltered and valid despite efforts by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Chitranganee Wagiswara to persuade Koïchiro Matsuura to retract his earlier statement condemning Sri Lanka Government for bombing of the Voice of Tigers radio station.

In a statement released after meeting, second day in succession with Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Chitranganee Wagiswara Director-General of UNESCO has expressed his “strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.”

However, on 03 December, Koïchiro Matsuura, issued a a statement condemning a deadly attack on a radio station run by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. He has described the Voice of Tigers Radio as a civilian media. "Regardless of the content of the broadcasts aired by the Voice of Tigers, there can be no excuse for military strikes on civilian media," said Koïchiro Matsuura.

Subsequently, Government of Sri Lanka registered its “strong protest” at the statement made by the Director General, in which he has “condemned” the air strike on the Voice of Tigers radio station.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in France and Permanent Delegate to the UNESCO, Chitranganee Wagiswara on 4th December, handed over a letter of protest from the Government of Sri Lanka, addressed to the Director General of UNESCO.

Subsequently, Sri Lanka's Ambassador met UNESCO Director General on 06th and 7th of December, to demand on behalf of Government of Sri Lanka, an apology as well as retraction of the press statement condemning the air strike on the Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio station of the LTTE by the Sri Lanka Air force on 27 November.

After yesterdays meeting Asian Tribune was unable to contact Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara for her comments.

In the meantime, Muriel de Pierrebourg, spokesperson of Director General of UNESCO released the press statement regarding yesterday’s meeting. There was no mention about either retraction or appology in the press statement.

Given below the full text of UNESCO’s press release :

On 7 December 2007, the Director-General of UNESCO met with Ambassador Chitranganee Wagiswara, Permanent Delegate of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to UNESCO, concerning UNESCO’s press release issued on the bombing of the radio station of the Tamil tigers in northern Sri Lanka, and asked the Ambassador to convey to her authorities the following two points:

1. The Director-General reaffirms his “strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.” He also states that “Acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations are activities aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy”. In this regard the Director-General strongly condemns the acts of terrorism committed by the Tamil Tigers. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Mr Matsuura recalls UNESCO’s commitment to the implementation of “Uniting against terrorism: recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy” adopted by the UN General Assembly at its 60th session.

2. Mr Matsuura joins his voice with that of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who appealed on 28 November 2007 for “an end to the destructive spiral of violence in Sri Lanka and [called] on the parties to the conflict [Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)] to return to the peace process while making every effort to ensure the protection of civilians.”

The Director-General takes note of Sri Lanka’s assurance of its commitment to a negotiated political settlement.

- Asian Tribune –

Also Read: Sri Lanka: UNESCO Chief condemns bombing of the Voice of Tigers radio station

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