UNSG lies over relocation of Colombo UNDP office
SL govt. says decision to shift UNDP Regional Office was taken in 2009

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The Sri Lanka government yesterday strongly disputed a move by UNSG Ban-Ki-moon to link the closure of UNDP Regional Office in Colombo with the on-going dispute over his hotly disputed bid to delve into alleged war crime charges.

Government sources said that the government had been aware of a UN decision to relocate the UNDP Regional Office in Bangkok as part of its cost cutting measures. In fact, they had made the move way back in late 2009, sources told The Island, adding that some of its employees received fresh appointments within the UN in Sri Lanka over the past few months.

Blaming the Rajapaksa administration for failing to prevent disruption of UN operations in Colombo by a Cabinet Minister, the UNSG on Thursday said that UNDP Regional Centre would be closed and UN Resident Coordinator, Neil Buhne, called to New York for urgent consultations.

Government sources pointed out that the NFF had mounted its campaign at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, whereas the UNDP Regional centre is situated at No 23, Independence Avenue.

A senior government official urged the Colombo-based diplomatic community not to turn a blind eye to the latest attempt by the UN to undermine Sri Lanka. Responding to a query by The Island, the official said that the UNDP Regional Office had been previously situated in Kathmandu and shifted to Colombo due to political unrest in Nepal. He said that the move was made at the height of the war against the LTTE amidst frequent terrorist attacks including air raids in Colombo.

Sources alleged that UNSG had made an obvious bid to deceive the international community as part of a plan step up pressure on Sri Lanka. This was nothing but a propaganda campaign to tarnish Sri Lanka’s image, sources said, adding that the UN should inquire into UNSG’s conduct.

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