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Top diplomat to be expelled?

The authorities are said to be in a dilemma as to whether they should expel UN Resident Representative here Neil Buhne, after it came to light that his office had deliberately leaked unauthenticated casualty figures of IDPs to a selected group of Western embassies in Colombo as verified figures, which were later picked by wire services and splashed across the world to the detriment of Sri Lanka.

These figures claiming that Army fire had killed nearly 6,500 IDPs since January and injured more than double that figure were even raised by visiting French and British Foreign Ministers early this week.

On Thursday, Buhne, a Canadian was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and questioned by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in the presence of French and British Ambassadors how he had authenticated such figures, whereupon which he is said to have blurted out that those figures were provided by two senior government doctors serving in the LTTE controlled areas.

But, the Foreign Ministry had asked whether the LTTE would allow any government official under their thumb to file any independent report without their sanction.
Earlier, during Lakshman Kadirgamar’s tenure as Foreign Minister, Sri Lanka expelled at least two UN Resident Representatives, both of them being haughty Norwegians, who behaved as if we were a colony of the UN.

In the case of one of them, he had the audacity to unilaterally decide to turn the UN compound in Colombo into a refugee camp for Tamils, soon after the devastating attack on the Bandaranaike International Airport in July 2001 claiming angry Sinhala mobs would attack innocent Tamils.

Following those expulsions, Sri Lanka requested UN Headquarters in New York to post an Asian to Colombo who would be more understanding of the country’s situation. But the UN, more or less controlled by appointees from powerful white nations, totally ignored our request and in fact kept the position vacant for sometime after which they posted a South American to Colombo.

The UN’s behaviour here has been so haughty even the three camps it built to rehabilitate child soldiers released by the LTTE due to the international outcry were all constructed in LTTE held areas not caring about the fact that those same children could again end up in Tiger clutches.