UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced concern over the ongoing political crisis in Sri Lanka, urging President Maithripala Sirisena to revert to parliamentary procedures and allow Parliament to vote "as soon as possible".
The political turmoil began after Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place in a dramatic turn of events last week.
UN Chief spoke to Sirisena over phone
Guterres spoke to Sirisena over phone on November 1 and informed him he was following the latest developments in the island country with concern, his office said on Friday.
Guterres "offered assistance in facilitating a dialogue with all the parties to resolve the situation," it said.
He highlighted the Sri Lankan government's responsibility to ensure peace, security, and respect for the rule of law.
Guterres urged Sirisena to revert to parliamentary procedures
"The Secretary-General urged the President to revert to parliamentary procedures and allow Parliament to vote as soon as possible. He encouraged the government to uphold its earlier commitments to human rights, justice, and reconciliation, in line with Human Rights Council resolutions," Guterres's office stated.
Lankan Resident Coordinator of the UN met Sirisena
Resident Coordinator of the UN in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer has met Sirisena and Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, delivering Guterres's message for the need to respect democratic values and constitutional provisions.
Jayasuriya said Sirisena agreed to summon Parliament on November 7.
There was confusion since Thursday on the date when the parliamentary deadlock would end as Sirisena had suspended the sittings until November 16.
Sacked PM Wickremesinghe refuses to accept his dismissal
Sirisena, after replacing Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa, suspended Parliament after Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority.
Wickremesinghe refused to accept his dismissal, claiming to be the legitimate premier. He argues he cannot legally be removed until he loses the support of Parliament.
Prior to the crisis, Wickramasinghe's UNP had the backing of 106 parliamentarians while Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine had 95 seats.