British Defence Minister visits Sri Lanka
Last Updated: Saturday, July 09, 2011, 21:45
Colombo: British Defence Minister Liam Fox has arrived here on a visit amidst mounting pressure from the UK to investigate alleged war crimes committed during the last stages of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka that ended in May 2009.

Fox is here to deliver the annual Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture in memory of the Sri Lankan foreign minister who was assassinated by the LTTE.

He is scheduled to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and External Affairs Minister GL Peiris, officials said. He is the first ever British defence minister to visit the country since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948.

His visit comes amidst concerns raised by the British government over allegations of human rights abuses being committed in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the conflict.

British Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt last month had asked the Sri Lankan government to evolve a mechanism to investigate the alleged rights abuses following the airing of a documentary titled 'Sri Lanka Killing Fields' by UK's Channel 4 television.

The channel had showed a documentary containing graphic images of purported extra-judicial killings of Tamil rebels by the Sri Lankan military in the north-east in 2009.

Sri Lanka had dismissed the videos as fabricated.


First Published: Saturday, July 09, 2011, 21:45

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