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Lanka accuses West of bullying on rights issue

Sri Lanka's top defence official accuses western nations of bullying the Govt on human rights issues and says it can rely on SAARC for support.

world Updated: Jun 13, 2007 16:34 IST

Sri Lanka's top defence official has accused western nations, especially Britain, of bullying the island government on the issue of human rights and said it could depend on South Asian countries for support.

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse dismissed warnings from Britain this week that Colombo risked international isolation over extra judicial killings and abductions.

Britain and several other countries have either suspended or withheld part of aid to Sri lanka insisting that it should improve its human rights record.

"This is international bullying," Rajapakse said in an interview to BBC.

"We won't be isolated. We have all the SAARC (South Asia Association of Regional Co-operation) countries, the Asian countries," he said.

"Britain, or Western countries, the EU countries, they can do whatever. We don't depend on them. They think that they give aid. No, they are not giving anything," he said.

Rajapakse also said that Tamil Tiger rebels had infiltrated the UN's offices in the capital and were feeding it incorrect information.

Defending the move to evict hundreds of ethnic minority Tamils from Colombo, he said it was better than detaining them.