Sri Lanka army chief meets UN peacekeeping officials

September 18th, 2011 - 12:04 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Sep 17 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s top most military official has had talks with the United nations agency which handles peace keeping operations in Haiti, the army said in a statement Saturday.

The Sri Lankan Army said that Sri Lankan Army commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya had a stopover at UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York and met Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, Military Adviser and UN Assistant Secretary for Department of Peacekeeping Operations on Friday, reported Xinhua.

The army chief was en route for Haiti to inspect operational duties of the peacekeeping troops serving the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

According to the Sri Lankan Army, Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya during the meeting with the UN official recalled healthy relations and strong bonds of goodwill, being maintained between the Sri Lankan Army and UN peacekeeping missions ever since the first contingent of Sri Lankan peacekeeping missions arrived in Haiti in the year 2004.

Sri Lankan troops involved in peace keeping operations in Haiti were accused in 2007 of sexually abusing Haitian girls including minors after which more than 100 soldiers were sent back home.

The Sri Lankan military said that the incident was investigated and the soldiers who were found guilty had been reprimanded.

However reports earlier this month had quoted human rights lawyers in Haiti as saying that some 100 Sri Lankan soldiers who were accused of rape had not been dealt with.

On the sidelines of the UN meeting, the visiting Commander had a brief meeting with Sri Lanka’s Permanent UN Representative in New York Dr Palitha Kohona and Major General Shavendra Silva, Deputy UN Representative.

MINUSTAH, a UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti that has been in operation since 2004 is composed of 8,940 military personnel and 3,711 police and concentrates on assisting the Haitian National Police to maintain law and order, provision of humanitarian aid, community projects, etc.

At present, a 950 Sri Lankan contingent is serving in Haiti for the MINUSTAH, the army said.

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