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UN official meets Sri Lanka Speaker over political crisis

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UN-SECRETARY GENERAL-CHINA-AFRICA COOPERATION-INTERVIEW by .
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

A UN official met Sri Lanka’s Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and conveyed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s concern over the ongoing political crisis that has gripped the island nation…reports Asian Lite News

Sri Lanka Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya (Photo: UN/IANS) by .
Sri Lanka Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

Hanaa Singer, the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka “met the Speaker of Parliament, stressing the Secretary-General’s message for the need to respect democratic values and constitutional provisions and process, uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety and security of all Sri Lankans”, Guterres’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Guterres “is following the latest developments in Sri Lanka with great concern” and “urges all parties to exercise restraint and address the unfolding situation in a peaceful manner”, Dujarric said.

Jayasuria warned on Monday that the crisis should be “settled through parliament, but if we take it out to the streets, there will be a huge bloodbath”.

On October 26, President Maithripala Sirisena fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

Rajapaksa, who was President from 2005 till his defeat by Sirisena in the 2015 elections, led the country during the 2009 brutal end to the civil war during which 40,000 people were killed, according to a UN report.

Guterres “calls on the government to respect democratic values and constitutional provisions and process, uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety and security of all Sri Lankans”, Dujarric said.

On Sunday, the US said Sri lanka’s parliament should decide who should be the Prime Minister.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Washington was following the “developments in Sri Lanka with concern” and urges “all sides to refrain from intimidation and violence”.

“We call on the President, in consultation with the Speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfill their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government,” she added.

The US Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires in Colombo, Robert Hilton, met Jayasuriya.