Odds and Ends

Mouse before Ban

The press briefing by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was organised at the Queen’s Hotel in Kandy and while journalists waited for the arrival of the top UN diplomat, they were greeted to some interesting occurrences.

Even though officials of the Foreign Ministry and Information Department were in Kandy from morning, it seemed that it was only a couple of hours before the briefing was to begin that the arrangements including setting the table and arranging the sound system were being finalised. In between there was a brief power cut and a mouse scuttling by. Many scribes were wondering why a better location could not have been picked for the press briefing by the top most UN official.

UN men in backdoor asylum drama

News of a confidential meeting between four Sri Lankan Tamils including a top-notch in the London-based British Tamils Forum and diplomats with UN officials at an office in Bangkok earlier this month is being discussed in Colombo circles.

Speculation here is that the two diplomats who accompanied the Tamil foursome in a diplomatic vehicle to the secret pow-pow in Bangkok on or about May 11 were probably trying to help the British Tamils Forum office holder to arrange asylum for some top-LTTErs before the final showdown with the Sri Lankan army.

News reaching Colombo is that the BTF man and his colleagues who left Bangkok on May 14 had been admitted to the confidential meeting with UN officials by a side door so as to prevent information leaking out to other officials, is still to be confirmed.

But our sources are certain that the meeting was to arrange for any LTTE leaders who contemplated surrender to be taken under the wing of the UN and have their papers for asylum quickly cleared so that they could be granted asylum in a foreign country.The presence of the Norwegian diplomats at the meeting was to facilitate this process, Colombo sources say.

It is known from UN sources themselves that previously persons had been smuggled out of countries and territories by UN officials though the organization itself might not have known about it or approved of it.

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