UN and Bogollagama refused Jeyaraj's comment

Photo: Prasident Rajapaksa with John Holmes.

The Minister Jeyaraj Ferndopulle’s branding of UN Humanitarian Relief Coordinator John Holmes as a “terrorist”, was his personal view and not that of the government, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said.

Addressing the media at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies yesterday evening (August 16th), the Foreign Minister said that there is no evidence to implicate Holmes as a terrorist. “To name him as a terrorist it would mean that the entire United Nations Organization is a terrorist organization,” he said.

“We should not concern ourselves with Minister Fernandopulle’s personal view. It is not exactly clear what he meant by the word “terrorist,” Minister Bogollagama said.

Meanwhile United Nation says that Undersecretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes had all along maintained that humanitarian aid workers in Sri Lanka are at risk.

Farhan Haq, spokesman to the UN Secretary General, said that Sri Lanka in the year 2006 was placed second worst country in the world for humanitarian work. "The Undersecretary is factually correct", he said.This is mainly because seventeen humanitarian workers were killed in a single incident in Muttur, said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said comments by Minister Fernandopulle, calling his humanitarian coordinator a "terrorist", were "unacceptable and unwarranted.”

U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas told reporters, "We believe them (the comments) to be unwarranted and unacceptable and the Secretary-General fully supports the work of his Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes."

She said Holmes has written to Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, saying it was "regrettable that a few words used in an interview have attracted disproportionate attention and have threatened to overshadow his sincere desire to have the most constructive relationship possible with the government."