Swiss take umbrage at Sunday newspaper
SWITZERLAND: The editor of a Sunday newspaper and a private TV
company had booked into the same hotel as the Sri Lankan delegation in
Geneva and had accosted the Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat
Dr. Palitha Kohona in the hotel lobby and tried to interview him.
The Sri Lankan delegation requires the privacy of the rather small
hotel to prepare for the peace talks but their location had been leaked
by irresponsible persons in Colombo, compromising their security and
The delegation had booked the main conference room in the hotel where
peace secretariat employees were working together with members of the
Government delegation and there are documents of a sensitive nature.
There are constant meetings taking place in the hotel lobby with the
Norwegians and between members of the Sri Lankan delegation and support
staff and the presence of the Sunday newspaper and a TV crew within the
hotel premises was viewed as an unnecessary infringement of their
privacy, security and confidentiality.
The delegation had complained to the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Geneva,
Sarala Fernando who had in turn contacted the Swiss authorities.
The immediate reaction of the Swiss authorities had been to throw the
Editor and the TV crew out of the hotel and had sought legal opinion.
Legal opinion had advised against such a move as being against Swiss
The hotel has now arranged separate private dining facilities for the
Sri Lankan delegation and a Swiss police officer was also assigned in
the hotel lobby on Thursday.
Meanwhile the editor of the Sunday newspaper had threatened to
confront Sajin Vaas Gunawardene, coordinating secretary to the President
on the grounds that Vaas Gunawardene had instructed members of the Sri
Lankan Government delegation not to communicate with the Sunday