Sri Lanka seeks China support as UN resolution looms

Saturday, 3 March 2012 00:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Beijing (PTI): Sri Lanka’s powerful Defence Secretary yesterday held talks with his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie, amid mounting pressure on Colombo for a credibly probe into alleged war crimes during the final stages of the ethnic conflict.

The visit of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is also brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, came ahead of Colombo facing a strong resolution by United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva to probe the allegations of human rights violations in the last stages of war against LTTE that ended in May 2009.

China has been backing Sri Lanka to stave off Western pressure to call for international inquiry into alleged human rights violations.

Without making any direct reference to the UNHRC move, a report by State-run Xinhua news agency said that Liang assured Rajapaksa that Beijing would continue to support Colombo’s efforts in safeguarding State independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and realising social and economic development.

“The two countries’ relations have witnessed smooth development and we have made remarkable achievements since we entered diplomatic relations 55 years ago,” Liang was quoted as saying in the report.

Gotabaya said bilateral ties between China and Sri Lanka had kept a healthy and smooth development. He expressed gratitude for China’s support in Sri Lanka ending the civil war and pushing reconstruction and development, the Xinhua report said. Liang expressed satisfaction over Sri Lanka’s solid support on China’s core interests. He said China hoped to work together with Sri Lanka to consolidate the friendship, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and improve communication and cooperation between the two armies. The Sri Lankan Government has fiercely resisted attempts by the 47-nation UN rights body to call for an independent probe of alleged abuses as its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has sufficiently probed all allegations.