Lanka Must Build on Indian Goodwill at UN Vote: Rights Envoy

Published: 29th March 2014 01:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2014 01:05 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

Sri Lanka must build on the goodwill shown by India at the UNHRC where it abstained from voting on a resolution against Colombo, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's human rights envoy said today.

Mahinda Samarasinghe, who is also a minister, said that India had been with Sri Lanka on two side votes before the main vote.

"India voted with Sri Lanka on the vote on the 'no action motion' while they also voted with us on deleting the operative paragraph 10," Samarasinghe said.

Pakistan moved the no action motion after raising a budget query on the proposed international investigation on Sri Lanka. They also moved the deletion of the para which empowered the UN rights chief to proceed with the international investigation.

"The Indian Ambassador used two very important words - 'intrusive' and 'constructive'. Those two words said all about the resolution. We must build on this goodwill shown by India.

We have to act more cordially with them," Samarasinghe said.

Elated by the India's abstention at the vote on the resolution, Rajapaksa yesterday promptly instructed the officials to release Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lanka for alleged poaching.

Ninety-eight fishermen with their boats were ordered to be released. The frequent arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has become a major irritant in bilateral ties.

Rajapaksa hailed India's abstention as a very welcome and significant development which was very encouraging towards Sri Lanka.

India had supported both previous US-moved resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

The resolution, which called for an international probe into alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka during the civil war that ended in 2009, was adopted with a 23-12 vote with 12 abstentions, including India, in the 47-member UN Human Rights Council's session at Geneva on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the US has expressed its disappointment to India over its abstention on the UNHRC vote on Sri Lanka.

"It is disappointing to us that India abstained from voting on this resolution when they voted yes for the last two years. We have made our disappointment known to Indian officials", state department spokesperson Marie Harf said.

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