COLOMBO: The United Nations, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lankan government have combined to sideline Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran in the itinerary drawn up for the visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Sri Lanka from August 31 to September 2.
The Secretary General will not be meeting Wigneswaran separately, but only as part of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation headed by its chief, R.Sampanthan. Wigneswaran told the Jaffna media that Sampanthan called him on the phone to say that if he wished to meet Ban Ki-moon, he could join the TNA delegation when it meets Ban in Jaffna on September 2.
Wigneswaran said that he is yet to take a decision on this, thereby hinting that he might boycott the meeting.
Ban Ki-moon would, however, be meeting the Governor of the Northern Province, Reginold Coooray, and visiting a resettlement center for war refugees.
According to reliable sources ,the Ban is keen to treat all factions of the TNA and all the communities in Sri Lanka equally .This is why he will be breaking tradition and going on a visit to South Sri Lanka, where the Sinhalese are in a majority, in addition to going to the war affected Tamil North.
He will also be even handed between the Wigneswaran faction and the Sampanthan faction of the TNA. It is learnt that this is why the UN did not fix a meeting with Wigneswaran separately and give him a special status. The UN would like Wigneswaran to be part of the TNA delegation.
The TNA delegation will be headed by Sampanthan whose policy of cooperating with the government of Sri Lanka is appreciated by the UN, the Western world and India. The UN, like the present Sri Lankan regime, is interested in economic development backed by ethnic reconciliation. But, unlike Sampanthan, Wigneswaran is interested only in a political settlement and accountability but not at all in economic development. This irks the international community which wants the Tamils and all Sri Lankans to move forward.