Coalition partner wants diplomatic offensive against UN report

Colombo: As the UN released a report on the last phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka, a partner of the ruling coalition demanded a diplomatic offensive to shore up international support against the report while the main opposition appointed a retired civil servant to study it.

Jathika Hela Urumaya, which is part of the ruling United People`s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), said President Mahinda Rajapaksa should seek the support of India, Russia and China in protest against the report of an independent panel which has now been submitted to UN chief Ban ki-Moon.

"We suggest that President Rajapaksa personally visit India, Russia and China to mobilise support against the panel report," Udaya Gammanpila, the JHU legal advisor, said.

"President can convince these countries to vote against the Western nations if a resolution is moved against Sri Lanka in the UN security council," Gammanpila said.

The panel has said killing of tens of thousands of people in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil strife could amount to "war crimes". But, Ban insisted he would only launch an international investigation if Colombo agrees or member states call for it.

Ban`s statement came as the panel called on the Secretary General to immediately set up "an independent international mechanism" to investigate "credible" allegations that both Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers committed serious human rights violations, including some that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the months before the decades old civil war ended in 2009.

In its reaction to the report, the Opposition UNP said it has Bradman Weerakoon, a former civil servant who has worked with seven former Prime Ministers, to study the report.

The UNP will come out with an official response to the report only after Weerakoon studies the report.

Despite objections from Sri Lanka, Ban made public the panel report.

Sri Lanka has vehemently rejected the report as one used by the Western states to undermine its victory over terrorism.