A Sri Lankan cabinet minister, on a hunger strike demanding scraping of a U.N. advisory panel on the country, called off his fast on Saturday after President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited him at the protest site. Housing minister Wimal Weerawansa went on a ’fast-unto-death’ on Thursday outside the U.N. office here, demanding that the world body scrap a panel set up to probe allegations of war crimes during the country’s civil war.

President Rajapaksa on Saturday visited the minister at the protest site and gave him a glass of water, before he was sent to a hospital in an ambulance.

Mr. Rajapaksa also spoke to doctors attending on Mr. Weerawansa, who told him that his condition was very bad, sources said.

The minister was then persuaded to break his fast and was rushed to the hospital.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has named a three member panel to advise him on “accountability issue” during the war between government forces and Tamil Tigers which ended in May last year.

In protest, the minister’s supporters laid siege to the U.N. compound on Tuesday. Since then, demonstrators have protested outside the U.N. compound here.

Two days later, Mr. Weerawansa began a “fast-unto-death” to protect the country’s military.

The U.N. recalled its top envoy to Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne to New York for discussions and closed down the UNDP office in Colombo following angry protests against the panel.

More In: International | News