27 July 2007United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced deep concern at the withdrawal of a rebel group in Burundi from arrangements to monitor the ceasefire it signed with the Government last year, calling on both sides to refrain from any actions that might lead to a resumption of hostilities. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban called on the Palipehutu- FNL, the last rebel hold-out from a peace agreement aimed at ending years of ethnic violence in the small Central African country, to resume its participation in the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM) without delay. He commended the efforts by South Africa, the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi and the African Union aimed at bringing the Burundi peace process to a successful conclusion and told his Executive Representative for Burundi to continue to work closely with these regional partners. Last September, the Burundian Government and the Palipehutu-FNL signed an agreement in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, designed to end 13 years of armed conflict between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority.
Expecting to provide an impetus to defence cooperation between India and Sri Lanka and discuss issues of bilateral relevance, Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army, General Dalbir Singh Suhag arrived in Sri Lanka this afternoon on a five-day long official visit at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva.A red carpet welcome ceremony, coloured by traditional Ves dancers greeted him on arrival at the tarmac at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport. Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army, together with Mrs Nayana De Silva, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit (ASVU) were at the venue to extend a warm welcome to the visiting India’s Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag and his spouse, Mrs Namitha Suhag. The delegation is comprised of the spouse of General Dalbir Singh, Mrs Namitha Suhag, Brigadier Gopal Gurang, Colonel Amitabh Jha, and Captain N.K Saraswat.India’s Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Arindam Bagchi, Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Senior Liaison Officer, Commander, Security Force Headquarters – West, Major General Mahesh Senanayake, Military Secretary, Brigadier H.M.J.K. Gunaratne, Assistant Liaison Officer, Director Operations and Captain Prakash Gopalan, Defence Adviser at Indian High Commission were also at the airport to receive the Chief of Army Staff. General Dalbir Singh who had served the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Sri Lanka in 1987 as a Company Commander is the 26th Chief of Army Staff (Army Commander) Indian Army has produced and proudly commands the 1.3 million-strong Indian Army. During his stay in Sri Lanka, the visiting Army Chief is scheduled to call on the Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, State Minister of Defence, Defence Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff, Air Force Commander and a few others. He will also attend wreath-laying ceremonies at the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) cenotaph at Battaramulla and the memorial in Palaly, Jaffna during his stay in the isle.