Pakistan assures Sri Lanka support on rights issue

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Colombo, Jan 17 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assured support for Sri Lanka during the upcoming UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in March should a third resolution be presented by the US on the island’s sketchy human rights record, a statement said here Friday.

Sharif said Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoyed excellent relations and there was strong political will on both sides to further develop and promote the bilateral relations.

“Pakistan’s prime minister assured continued support to Sri Lanka at international forums,” Xinhua quoted the statement released by the Pakistan high commission in Colombo as saying.

Sharif had made these statements when he met Sri Lanka’s Irrigation and Water Management Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva who is visiting Pakistan as special envoy of the president of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government has been sending high-level cabinet ministers to different countries to drum up support ahead of the UNHRC sessions in Geneva in March.

The prime minister also extended an invitation to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan.

De Silva reciprocated the warm greetings of Sharif and said that the relations between the two countries would further get enhanced due to the keen interest of both the Pakistani and Sri Lankan leadership.

US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp wrapped up an evaluation visit to Sri Lanka earlier this month increasing speculation that a third resolution on Sri Lanka would be placed before the UNHRC in March.

In November, British Prime Minister David Cameron issued an ultimatum to the Sri Lankan government that the Britain would support a new resolution for an international probe into allegations of war crimes unless credible investigations are made locally.

The UNHRC has already adopted two resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013 for allegedly failing to investigate war crimes allegations, promote reconciliation and improve human rights.

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