July 9, 2010 / 3:58 PM / 8 years ago

U.S., EU and others condemn Sri Lanka over U.N. spat

COLOMBO (Reuters) - The European Union and nine countries Friday warned Sri Lanka that a protest against a U.N. war crimes panel that blocked the world body’s office could harm its international reputation.

“We are deeply dismayed by the blockade of the UN-compound this week in Colombo and the role played in it by a government minister,” a joint statement said.

“Peaceful protest is part of any democracy, but blocking access to the United Nations ... as well as intimidating and harassing U.N. personnel is a breach of international norms and harmful to Sri Lanka’s reputation in the world,” it said.

The statement was signed by the heads of mission in Sri Lanka for the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Romania, Norway and the European Union.

“We call upon the government of Sri Lanka to take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of U.N. personnel and premises,” it said.

A meeting between the dean of the diplomatic corps and the foreign minister was due Monday, it said.

Reporting by Bryson Hull; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher

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