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Manmohan Singh reminds Mahinda Rajapaksa India's key role in Geneva

IANS
Mar 25, 2012 at 03:53am IST

New Delhi: India played a key role to introduce "an element of balance" in the US-sponsored resolution in Geneva on Sri Lanka rights violations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said.

In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Manmohan Singh said he had instructed the Indian delegation "to remain in close contact with its Sri Lanka counterparts in an attempt to find a positive way forward."

"You would be aware that we spared no effort and were successful in introducing an element of balance in the language of the resolution" that was passed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva Thursday, he said in his letter that was released Saturday.

PM reminds Rajapaksa India's key role in Geneva

Manmohan Singh reminded Rajapaksa that India had stood by Sri Lanka firmly in its struggle against terrorism.

The reference was to Indian insistence that forced the US and other sponsors of the resolution to remove references to UN intrusion into Sri Lankan affairs over human rights and "war crimes" allegations.

India's decision to go public with the letter to Rajapaksa comes amid charges by some leaders in Sri Lanka that New Delhi might one day have to face a similar UN resolution over the Kashmir dispute.

India and 23 other countries, including the US, voted in favour of the resolution. Fifteen countries voted against while eight abstained in the 47-member HRC body.

President Rajapaksa has publicly praised the countries which voted against the resolution or abstained while warning the others -- including India -- to be aware of the consequences.

The prime minister reminded Rajapaksa that the two countries had had discussions on "the way ahead with regard to a political solution that will address all outstanding issues, in particular the grievances of the Tamil community, in a spirit of understanding and mutual cooperation.

"It is our conviction that a meaningful devolution package, building upon the (India-sponsored) 13th amendment (of the Sri Lankan constitution), would lead towards a lasing political settlement..."

This, he said, would help everyone in Sri Lanka, irrespective of their ethnicity, to lead a life of justice, dignity, equality and self-respect.

"I would like to reiterate my government's commitment to continue to be of assistance in the achievement of this important objective."

Manmohan Singh reminded Rajapaksa that India had stood by Sri Lanka firmly in its struggle against terrorism.

Justifying the annihilation of the Tamil Tigers, Singh said the end in May 2009 of the Sri Lanka conflict "was something we regarded as providing, at long last, an opportunity for genuine national reconciliation and for addressing the urgent needs of development and reconstruction."

He pointed out the various help the Indian government had provided to Sri Lanka in rebuilding the island's northeast, the former war zone.

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