Sri Lanka needs to go `further and faster` on human rights: David Cameron
Last Updated: Saturday, November 16, 2013, 09:55
  
Colombo: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday urged Sri Lanka to move "further and faster" to address allegations of war crimes, saying the issue would remain high on the international agenda.

"The Sri Lankan government needs to go further and faster on human rights and reconciliation," Cameron told a press conference at the Commonwealth summit in Colombo.

"I accept it takes time but I think the important thing is to get on the right track," he added. "This issue is not going to go away, it's an issue of international concern."

Cameron upstaged the first day of the three-day meeting yesterday by travelling to the Jaffna region, which bore the main brunt of the 37-year civil war, meeting with local ethnic Tamils who lost loved ones or were left homeless.

Despite Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's warning against leaders trying to impose their own agendas at the summit, Cameron called a press conference today to report back on his historic visit.

Tensions at CHOGM were also further raised when Mauritius pulled out of hosting the next Commonwealth summit in 2015 as planned because of its boycott of this weekend's meeting in Sri Lanka.

Asked today about his meeting last night with Rajapakse after the Jaffna trip, Cameron said "very strong views were expressed on both sides".

"It was a very frank and clear meeting, a frank exchange of views.... Of course not everything I said was accepted."

Cameron said Rajapakse wanted more time to address the claims but put him on notice to deliver by March or else he would push for an international investigation through the auspices of the UN human rights council.

"I sense that they do want to make progress on these issues and it will help having international pressure to help make that matter," said Cameron.

AFP

First Published: Saturday, November 16, 2013, 09:55


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