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Top US official in Sri Lanka ahead of key rights resolution

Nisha Desai Biswal

A top US official arrived here today for talks with Sri Lankan leaders ahead of a key UN vote on the country’s human rights record

Nisha Desai BiswalColombo: A top US official arrived here today for talks with Sri Lankan leaders ahead of a key UN vote on the country’s human rights record.

Nisha Desai Biswal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, is to take up issues of justice and accountability during her three-day visit.

Her visit assumes significance as US plans to move a resolution at the next session of the UN Human Rights Council in March against Sri Lanka.

Biswal, an Indian-American, will meet with Sri Lankan government officials, civil society groups and visit Jaffna in the Northern Province, the US embassy said.

She has lined up several consultative meetings with British foreign office in London on her way back.

The US and UK are said to be jointly working on the resolution which is widely expected to push Sri Lanka to an independent international investigation over alleged war crimes committed during the last phase of the military conflict which crushed the LTTE.

Commenting on Biswal’s visit, the pro-Sri Lankan government daily ‘The Island’ said that India was being pushed by both the US and the UK to back the forthcoming resolution.

India had supported the US against Sri Lanka in both previous resolutions adopted in 2012 and 2013.

Sri Lanka is currently engaged in heavy lobbying to pursue the countries to support it during the voting.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga travelled to both Geneva and Washington during the last fortnight to try and stave off the resolution.

External Affairs Minister G L Peiris visited New Delhi this week while several other senior ministers have travelled to various capitals to press for Sri Lanka’s case.

Sri Lanka has asked for more patience from the international community, urging them not to be swayed by the pro-LTTE Diaspora.

PTI

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