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UN did not underestimate Lanka civilian deaths: Ban

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday "categorically rejected" that his office "underestimated" civilian casuality figures in the conflict between LTTE and the Sri Lankan Army, saying the reports about the death of 20,000 people "did not emanate" from the world body

world Updated: Jun 02, 2009 10:14 IST

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday "categorically rejected" that his office "underestimated" civilian casuality figures in the conflict between LTTE and the Sri Lankan Army, saying the reports about the death of 20,000 people "did not emanate" from the world body.

Ban reiterated his strong concerns over "unacceptably high" civilian casualties in the Lankan conflict while rejecting in the strongest terms any figure attributed to the United Nations.

Briefing the General Assembly on his recent visit to Sri Lanka and other countries, Ban said media reports alleging that some 20,000 civilians may have been killed during the last phase of the conflict "do not emanate from the UN and most are not consistent with the information at our disposal."

Last month, Sri Lanka’s Government declared that its military operation against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was over, ending more than two decades of fighting.

"I categorically reject – repeat, categorically – any suggestion that the United Nations has deliberately under-estimated any figures," the Secretary-General underscored.

"Let me also say, whatever the total, the casualties in the conflict were unacceptably high – as I have also said repeatedly," he added.