Otunnu declines calls for UN intervention
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 May 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Mr. Olara Otunnu, UN Special Representative on Children in Armed Conflict arrived to Vavuniya this afternoon and met Sri Lanka government officials, said sources. The Sri Lankan officials said that it is the wish of the people that UN should put pressure on both parties in the conflict and to bring about peace.
However, Mr. Otunnu said that the conflict had to be resolved by the parties involved in the conflict, and both of them had to make the request.
Mr. Otunnu said, that the aim of his visit was to see the situation of the children affected in the war, and discuss this with the Sri Lankan government officials.
The meeting was presided by Vavuniya Additional Government Agent Mr. S. Ragunathapillai.
S. Swaminathan (Deputy Director of Planning), Dr. Mrs. V.Swaminathan (Deputy Director of Provincial health services), and Mariam Torch (Vavuniya UNHCR senior field officer) attended the meeting.
Ruth McCoy (Special Assistant to Olara Ottunu), Collin Glennie (UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka), Patrick Vandenbruaene (Humanitarian Advisor to the UN Resident Co-ordinator in Sri Lanka), I.A.Hameed (Project Officer UNICEF) and an interpreter were also in the delegation.
Local journalists who had come to Vavuniya said they wish to travel to LTTE controlled Madu and asked the UN officials to take them to Madu
However, UNICEF officials declined the request, saying that the Sri Lankan defence officials had made the travel arrangement for them and therefore it was up to the defence officials to decide whether the journalists were allowed to travel to Madu.
Otunu's delegation has left for LTTE controlled Madu, where they are expected to meet LTTE officials and NGO staff working.