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Fonseka 'ready to talk' with UN panel

Jun 29, 2010 5:24:43 PM- transcurrents.com

BBC Sandeshaya

The detained former military commander in Sri Lanka says he is prepared to meet the special panel appointed to advice the UN chief on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

Gen Sarath Fonseka told BBC Sandeshaya that even President Mahinda Rajapaksa has agreed with the UN to investigate alleged human rights violations during the last phase of the war.

The UN secretary general has set up a panel to look into alleged human rights abuses during the final stages of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009.

Ban Ki-moon's spokesman said the three-man panel would advise on how to deal with alleged perpetrators.

Rights groups accuse both sides of war crimes - a claim which has been denied.

"I think this committee is a result of that agreement with President Rajapaksa," Gen Fonseka told BBCSinhala.com.

He stressed that any country should take steps to resolve issues with the international community if there are any question marks over the conduct of the said country.

Rejecting the appointment of the panel, the government said the panel members will not be allowed to visit the country.

In an interview with Times of India newspaper, President Rajapaksa has dismissed the panel.

"We should not try to get involved in a conflict with the UN," Gen Fonseka said.

"As a citizen of Sri Lanka, if I get an opportunity to support such an inquiry, I think we shouldn't hesitate to do that."

The former military commander who is facing two military trials says that the conditions imposed by the European Union to extend the GSP+ facility are fair.

"I don't think it is an intervention in internal affairs," he said.

"The EU has demanded the release of political prisoners which includes me," Gen Fonseka added. - courtesy: BBC Sandeshaya -