Lanka rejects probe demand, says no to time limit

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Nov 18, 2013 01:30 IST

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday yet again rejected demands for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes during the last phase of country’s civil war that ended in 2009.

Addressing the press after the conclusion of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) summit which was clouded by human rights issues, he reiterated himself. Rajapaksa said no one should dictate terms with his country and Colombo needed time for reconciliation.

Rajapaksa also expressed appreciation for China’s help in post-war reconstruction.  “Sri Lanka welcomes investment from China and other parts of the world,” Rajapaksa said. China has provided loans to Sri Lanka in building ports, highways, railways and power plants.

British Prime Minter David Cameron, who had visited Tamil-dominated Northern Province on Friday, put out an ultimatum to Lanka, saying if no progress is made in probing rights violations by March, he would move the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) for an independent probe.

Asked about the March deadline set by Cameron, he said, Sri Lanka cannot do it.

Be fair to us and help us. Nobody should dictate. You have to respect our views, be fair to us. You must not try to divide communities,” Rajapaksa said in an apparent reference to Cameron’s remarks.

“We have a legal system and constitution. We have a process, it has started. It will take time. We have to change the mindset of the people not only in the north but also in the south,” he told a media conference.

Rajapaksa has been stressing that his country has also got enough eminent persons to have an in independent probe into the alleged human rights abuse, and people “sitting at glass palaces shouldn’t throw stones” at Colombo.

The absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterparts from Canada and Mauritius had cast a shadow over the CHOGM summit. However, Rajapaksa had sought to downplay Singh’s absence, saying he was satisfied with the presence of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who represented India at the summit after the Prime Minister backed out in the wake of strong sentiments in Tamil Nadu.


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