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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2965

Director General Matsuura to convey his decision today on UNESCO Press Release on attack on VoT

Colombo, 07 December, ( No decision has been taken when Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Chithranganee Wagiswara met Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura yesterday.

Pierreboulg Murrel, spokesperson of the UNESCO Director General told Asian Tribune, that Koichiro Matsuura listened to the presentation by Ambassador Chithranganee Wagiswara and decided to meet her again in the afternoon to convey his decision.

Yesterday, Koichiro Matsuura has assured Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in France and Delegate to the UNESCO, that he will “re-examine the entire issue” on the UNESCO press release issued earlier this week regarding the attack on the Voice of Tigers (VoT) Station.

The Director General gave this assurance when Ambassador Chithranganee Wagiswara met him on Thursday (06 December 2007) to personally lodged Sri Lanka’s protest against the recent statement made by the Director General, in which he had “condemned “ the air strike on the Voice of Tigers radio station, which has been described as a “civilian” radio station.

Earlier, on the instructions of the Foreign Minister, Ambassador Wagiswara re-asserted the Sri Lanka’s Government position that the Director General’s statement must be “retracted” as the VoT is a Clandestine Radio Station directly operated by the LTTE, a well- known terrorist organization and is neither legal nor legitimate. It was also noted that VoT cannot be considered as a “civilian” radio station and that those employees at the VoT facility cannot be considered as “civilian” media personnel.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, who made a statement on this matter in Parliament on Wednesday, has also brought the Sri Lanka Government’s concerns on the UNESCO Director General’s Statement to the attention of the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Neil Bhune. The Resident Coordinator maintained that he was neither consulted nor made aware of the UNESCO Director General’s Statement, until he saw it reported in the media.

The Minister reiterated Sri Lanka’s demand that the statement be retracted and informed the UN Resident Coordinator that he should make known to UNESCO the actual facts on the ground relating to the activities of the VoT. The Minister emphasized that the VoT was a terrorist broadcasting organization and hence, was a legitimate target for attack, in Sri Lanlka’s fight against terrorism. The Minister added that the UNESCO Director General’s Statement has been broadly condemned by the Government, as well as Opposition Parties including the UNP and JVP and has brought embarrassment to the UN System as whole in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Bhune assured the Minister that he would convey the Minister’s sentiments to the UNESCO Director General and brief him on the matter.

- Asian Tribune -

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