By Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera
The government today told Parliament that India never supported claims by some foreign nations for an international tribunal against Sri Lanka at this hour, describing it as a morale booster for Lanka.
External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris was responding to a question raised by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake on the May 16 joint statement issued after ministerial level talks between the two countries.
Prof. Peiris said there was no element of truth in the allegations made by Mr. Dissanayake that India had exerted undue pressure on Sri Lanka.
The Minister, while referring to the joint statement and Mr. Dissanayake’s statement point by point, said the government of Sri Lanka only took the diplomatic initiative to brief Indian leaders on the controversial report by the UN Advisory Panel.
“We never wanted India to issue a statement condemning this report. We have already rejected this statement. If we ask other foreign nations to condemn it more and more, it will amount to undue recognition for the report which has no connection with the UN whatsoever. It is a report by a panel appointed by the UN Secretary General,” he said.
He said, “Some foreign nations asked for an international tribunal against Sri Lanka. But, India never supported it. It is a reason for satisfaction. During my visit to India, I also had talks with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. I never wanted him to issue a statement condemning this report.”
Also, he said Sri Lanka had India’s support whenever the needs arose.
“We want to solicit its support as and when necessary. This issue against Sri Lanka is being discussed in New York and at the UN Human Rights Council,” he said.
Commenting on his visit to Indonesia to participate in the meeting of the Non Aligned Movement, he said he interacted with representatives of 22 countries, and all of them were briefed about this report.
‘We did not ask any of them to issue statements condemning this report. That is not our intention.