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Clinton welcomes UN resolution on Sri Lanka

23 march 2012, 18:15
The United States on Thursday endorsed a UN resolution urging Sri Lanka to "credibly investigate" allegations of war crimes during its battle against Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009, AFP reports.

Thursday's UN Human Rights Council resolution in Geneva "encourages the government of Sri Lanka to continue on the path toward reconciliation following 27 years of civil war," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

"The United States, together with the international community, sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability," Clinton said.

"And the international community stands ready to help," she said.

Sri Lankan authorities rejected Thursday's resolution, saying the country must be given time to complete its own domestic investigations without interference from foreign powers.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the resolution "goes a long way to advancing the rights and dignity of the Sri Lankan people."

"The United States urges the Sri Lankan government to develop a comprehensive action plan for implementing steps on reconciliation and accountability, as called for in today's resolution," he said.

The Sri Lankans had been given three years to hold their own investigations into allegations of serious violations, but given the lack of action it was appropriate that the 47-member state council pushed it to do so, US officials said.

Human rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians died in the final months of Sri Lanka's military campaign to crush the Tamil Tigers, who waged a bloody decades-long campaign for a separate homeland for minority Tamils.

The UN estimates some 100,000 people died during Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict between 1972 and 2009.

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