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FM Peiris downplays global concerns over war crimes in Sri Lanka

New Delhi, Aug.19 (ANI): Ahead of his meetings with the Indian leadership, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, G L Peiris, has downplayed global concern over alleged war crimes in his country, and declared that the island -nation is stable, and that vested interests are to be blamed for what is being parleyed.

Peiris said: “Look at any other comparable post-conflict situation and take a period of four years. How much has happened in those situations in four years? So, why a separate stand is being applied to Sri Lanka. Why a separate stand is being implied? That is because of the (Tamil) Diaspora and the influence of the (Tamil) Diaspora on influential people, who are responsible for…that is not right. Sri Lanka is in a troubling situation in the world today. Why are we attracting this peculiar attention? Sri Lanka remains a country at peace. It is a stable society.”

Peiris is in the Indian capital to extend an official invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November.

International rights groups have long called for an independent investigation into alleged war crimes during the final phase of the conflict, which ended in May 2009 with the military crushing the remnants of the Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka.

The United Nations in March urged Sri Lanka in a U.S.-sponsored resolution to carry out credible investigations into killings and disappearances. Many Western nations, including Britain and Canada, have also demanded an independent probe.

The country has a long history of failing to prosecute rights abuses, particularly when members of the security forces were involved, going back to the early 1970s, when the government suppressed a Marxist insurrection.

Local commissions investigating alleged rights abuses have been incomplete or inconclusive.

An expert panel set up by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon found the army committed large-scale abuses and that as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the last months of the conflict. Sri Lanka says these allegations are unfounded.

More than 100,000 people were killed in the war since it broke out in 1983. (ANI)