By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
UN Secretary-General (SG) Ban Ki-moon will not meet Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, the most outspoken advocate in the north who contends that ending of the war did not signify an end to the ethnic conflict. His name is not on the list of persons… …the SG will be meeting during his visit to Sri Lanka.
Ban, instead will meet Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray as well as TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and several other members of the TNA on 2 August.
With his tenure as UN Secretary General ending later this year, Ban’s visit has significance in that the main objective of his visit is to get a personal feel of progress made on initiatives launched by him into several aspects of the long drawn out ethnic armed struggle by Tamil militants in the island.
Most foreign dignitaries, especially from the UN system, such as UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein have met the Chief Minister on visits to Sri Lanka.
The Chief Minister’s office did not respond to attempts by this newspaper to get a comment on the matter. The Secretary-General will be accompanied by Mrs Ban Soon-taek on his visit here from 31 August to 2 September.
The Secretary-General is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on 31 August evening from Myanmar, and leave Sri Lanka late on 2 September night for China to attend the G20 Summit. He will have talks with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on 31 August and call on President Maithripala Sirisena on 1 September.
The Secretary-General will travel to Galle on 1 September where he will participate in an event involving youth under the theme ‘Reconciliation and Coexistence: Role of Youth’. On 2 September, the Secretary-General will travel to Jaffna, where he will meet the Governor of the Northern Province Reginald Cooray, Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan and members of the TNA, and visit a resettlement village.
During the visit, the Secretary-General will also meet several Cabinet Ministers including Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Political Party Leaders and leading civil society activists. At the invitation of the Chairperson and Board of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS),
the Secretary-General will speak at a public event in Colombo on 2 September on ‘Sustaining Peace – Achieving Sustainable Development Goals’, focusing in particular on Goal 16, namely, the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
At the end of his visit on 2 September the Secretary-General will speak at a media briefing at the United Nations Office in Colombo.