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* US, Britain concerned over Australia's support to Sri Lanka over the US resolution
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 08:48 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 23, Colombo: Diplomats of the United States and Britain preparing to table the anti-Sri Lanka resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next month have expressed concern over Australia's support to Sri Lanka.

According to a report in WAtoday, "well-placed sources" involved in the preparations for the UN meeting have told the news site that there is ''deep concern'' among US and British officials at Australia's position.

The diplomats have expressed fear that Australia may spring up a "nasty surprise" at the next month's UNHRC session.

''[They] are concerned that Australia may spring a nasty surprise this year and not only fail to co-sponsor it but work to weaken or defeat it,'' the report quoted a source.

The US will bring its third resolution within two years against Sri Lanka at the upcoming UNHRC session beginning March 04.

The third resolution calls for an international investigation into the alleged war crimes and human rights violations that took place during the final phase of the war which ended in May 2009 as the US has lost patience with the slow progress of Sri Lankan government in implementing the recommendations of the government's domestic probe by Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)

Australia has supported the previous two resolutions adopted in the UNHRC in 2011 and 2012.

Australia and Sri Lanka in recent times have strengthened their bilateral relations and the two countries have cooperated in curbing human smuggling to Australia across the Indian Ocean.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbot who was in Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last November announced that two Bay class patrol boats will be given to Sri Lanka to boost the efforts by the island's Navy to prevent people smuggling in the Indian Ocean.

Affirming his participation in the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo last November when Canada and India decided to boycott the summit on the grounds of Sri Lanka's human rights record Mr. Abbott said the most important civil right is the right to live without the threat of death or violence through a civil war and he will not "lecture Sri Lanka on human rights."

The Prime Minister however, said he will urge the Sri Lankan Government to respect everyone's rights while acknowledging the progress.

An Australian parliamentary delegation, who visited Sri Lanka recently, praised the Sri Lankan government for its efforts to rebuild the country after the war against Tamil Tiger terrorists devastate the island for three decades.

The Australian delegation at the end of their visit said the transformation in the island nation undergone after the end of the war was "highly impressive" and they were greatly encouraged by the progress seen throughout the island.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop recently affirmed Australia's commitment to work with the Sri Lankan government to achieve peace and asked the international community to engage with Sri Lanka and not isolate the country.

A spokeswoman for Minister Bishop has said that Australia would make a final decision on its position on the US resolution on Sri Lanka ''after due consideration of the final text and the balance of issues it raises''.

''We encourage all parties to take a constructive approach and any resolution must be seen to assist the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka,'' the spokeswoman has said.

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