Fernandopulle defiant at Ki-moon’s rebuke

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 August 2007, 08:12 GMT]
Senior Sri Lankan minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle launched a scathing attack against United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying that he did not give a ‘damn’ about whatever he (Ki-moon) had to say, The Nation newspaper reported. Fernandopulle was responding to Ki-Moon’s criticism that Fernandopulle’s comments last week calling UN humanitarian coordinator John Holmes a “terrorist” who took a bribe from the LTTE were “unacceptable and unwarranted.” Mr. Holmes has meanwhile has written to Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse explaining himself. President Rajapakse has not commented on the controversy.

Jeyaraj Fernandopulle
Fernandopulle, who is also the Chief Government Whip, told The Nation, “I don’t give a damn about what this UN boss has to tell me or Sri Lanka. He can say whatever he wants, but I will still go by what I said and that is, John Homes is a terrorist who takes bribes from the LTTE.”

Fernandopulle also said that he had a busy schedule, and had better things to do than waste his time listening to what the UN boss and the likes had to say.

“I do not care what the UN Secretary General says. We cannot allow any foreigner to come to our country and work against us,” he said.

“I am a busy man and I have bigger problems to worry about than a statement made by the UN Secretary,” he added.

The Minister went on to say that he would stand by his claim that the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes is a “terrorist.”

He said that he would not allow Holmes to continue tarnishing the reputation of the country in the international arena.

“We cannot allow outsiders to meddle in the internal affairs of our country,” said the Minister. “I am not going to be intimidated by anyone, even the UN Secretary General.

Late last week UN Secretary General Ki-moon defended the UN humanitarian coordinator Friday - even as Holmes himself wrote to President Rajapakse, explaining himself.

“We believe the comments to be unwarranted and unacceptable and the Secretary-General fully supports the work of his emergency relief coordinator, John Holmes,” a UN spokesperson said.

In his letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa late last week, Holmes emphasised the need to move on following “wild allegations made against him by some sections.”

“Over the past week or so, I have been increasingly concerned that one comment of mine in response to a question raised by Reuters attracted such disproportionate attention from the Sri Lankan media, and also from some official institutions and Cabinet members,” Holmes wrote.

“That is why I have not reacted to the wild allegations against me by part of the Sri Lankan media and some members of your government, though the allegations that I am a terrorist and the implied threat about teaching me a lesson are matters that I hope displease you as much as they do me.”

President Rajapakse has not commented on the controversy or responded to the UN Secretary-General.


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