March 18, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka said Wednesday it would open up its war-torn north to international scrutiny, days after the UN said it suspected war crimes were being committed in the fight against Tamil rebels. A foreign ministry official said talks were under way to give a European Union fact-finding mission access to the area, which has been almost totally off-limits to diplomats, aid workers and journalists.
“We are in the process of finalising the dates and the agenda,” Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona told AFP.
Another senior foreign ministry official said the team may be allowed to visit camps that the Sri Lankan government has set up for civilians displaced by its massive offensive against the Tamil Tigers.
“The EU delegation could visit the camps for internally displaced and see for themselves the conditions there,” the official said.
But it was not clear if diplomats would be allowed close to frontline areas. A visit by EU parliamentarians in July last year ended in acrimony with the Sri Lankan government accused of not giving full or free access.
The EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said she hoped another mission from member nations