Jan 31, Colombo: Sri Lanka Thursday expressed confidence that India will support the island nation at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva later next month and dismissed Indian media reports which speculated otherwise.
Speaking at the Cabinet decisions media briefing today, Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella described India as "our greatest friend" and said India has been extremely supportive in many issues despite what the Indian media said to the contrary.
"India has been our greatest friend and closest neighbor. They have been a friend indeed so we believe they will stand by us," the Minister told the media.
He said the reasons the last time India decided to support were discussed at a diplomatic level.
"From time to time international relations change for a variety of reasons. But we still believe they (India) are our greatest friend and we have had that cordiality right throughout," Rambukwella said.
India voted in support of the UN resolution sponsored by the US against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session in March 2012. The relations have been cold between the two neighbors since then for some time and are returning to normal now.
A US delegation visiting Sri Lanka said Monday that US will bring a procedural resolution at the upcoming session of UNHRC in Geneva to build up on the 2012 resolution as they are not pleased with the pace of the progress Sri Lanka made on implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learn and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
Responding to the US plan to bring another resolution, Minister Rambukwella said the LLRC was not appointed due to any requests made by anyone or under any influence and the future activities will take place according to the government's plan at a feasible pace.
Explaining that the government's National Action plan has put forward short, medium and long term plans to implement the LLRC recommendations, the Minister said most of the work related to short term plans has been completed and medium term activities are in progress.
For long term plans, the Minister stressed, that a long time is needed since these involve constitutional amendments.
The Minister expressed confidence that Sri Lanka can defend its position against the forces both inside and outside working on their own agenda.
He dismissed the idea that the US resolution would have a negative impact on the economy or foreign direct investment (FDI).
He said a delegation headed by Minister and President's special human rights envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe will represent Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session that is scheduled to be held from February 25 - March 22.