Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa
on Friday embarked on his second visit to Russia, amid growing
international pressure on him to address rights abuse
allegations during the last phase of the ethnic conflict in
The three-day visit to Russia to attend the 15th
Annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEP)
assumes added significance as Russia has supported Sri Lanka
over the UN Secretary General`s expert panel report which
accused it of committing war crimes.
President Hu Jintao of China, which has backed Sri
Lanka on UN panel report, is also expected to participate.
Rajapaksa, who is on his second trip to Russia after
being elected as president in January 2010, is due to make a
series of calls on leaders attending the forum, foreign
ministry officials said.
The forum, held annually with the participation of
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, brings together prominent
politicians, corporate executives and experts to discuss key
issues of the global economy. Sri Lanka has been invited as an
observer to the forum.
Sri Lanka has stepped up its campaign to seek support
against mounting pressure from Western nations to investigate
alleged atrocities in the ethnic conflict.
China and Russia have backed Lanka amid growing
international isolation over alleged human rights abuses
during the civil war.
Britain has asked Lanka to investigate alleged
atrocities in the conflict after Channel 4 in London showed
what it said was new footage of purported extra-judicial
killings of Tamil rebels by Lankan military.
The video comes following Sri Lanka`s rejection of a
UN panel report calling for an "independent" inquiry into the
alleged war crimes during the three-decade long ethnic war
that ended in May 2009.
Colombo has dismissed it as "fundamentally flawed" and
"based on patently biased material, which is presented without
It has set up a `Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Commission` (LLRC) to examine the ethnic conflict.