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Lanka accuses US of adopting double standards

The UNHRC approved in Geneva a US-backed resolution censuring Sri Lanka over its rights record.



Colombo: Citing America`s close ally Israel`s
decision to sever ties with the UN Human Rights Council, Sri
Lanka on Thursday accused the US of adopting double standards saying
Washington was against any global involvement in the Jewish
state but did not follow the same policy for Colombo.

"Israel has taken this step (to cut ties with UNHRC)
despite losing the vote (against it) 36 to 1. Only US
supported them. How do you explain US position when Israel
says they are withdrawing from UNHRC?" Lakshman Yapa
Abeywardena, a deputy minister and the government`s acting
spokesman, told reporters.

He was referring to the Council`s decision to launch a
fact-finding mission into Israeli settlements in the West
Bank.

Abeywardena asserted that the Sri Lankan government too
was totally against foreign interference in the country.

His comments came days after the UNHRC approved in Geneva
a US-backed resolution censuring Sri Lanka over its rights
record.

"America, which has stated at the Geneva session that an
international inference is needed in Sri Lanka, objected
against such an involvement in Israel," he noted.

Israeli Premier Benjamin Natanyahu has charged the UNHRC
of bias for ordering an investigation into Jewish settlement
construction in the West Bank.

Israel has said the UNHRC mission would not be granted
permission to enter the country.

Asked if Sri Lanka planned to sever ties with UNHRC,
Abeywardena replied in the negative.

"What I want to highlight is the inconsistency in the
process."

He, however, said the government was yet to make its
official stand known on the resolution.

"The Cabinet has not taken any decision on the
resolution yet," he stressed.

Earlier, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris had said
the government had taken a decision not to abide by the
resolution.

However, Abeywardena said the government would be issuing
its official statement very soon.

The US-moved resolution which had sought to commit Sri
Lanka for expeditious implementation of the recommendations of
the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was
adopted by 24-15 with 8 abstentions last week.

Sri Lanka resisted the move to present the resolution
claiming it was a biased action by the West to prop up the
pro-LTTE diaspora.

PTI

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