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British PM to visit Lanka's former warzone, to talk tough

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to have "very tough" conversations with the Sri Lankan government on human rights during next month's Commonwealth summit here when he will also visit the Tamil- dominated war-torn north in a landmark trip.

Cameron will become the first foreign head of government to visit Sri Lanka's former warzone Tamil heartland.


"My decision is the right thing for us to do is to go to the Commonwealth conference...And have some very tough conversations with the Sri Lankan government," Cameron said while defending his decision to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) hosted by Lanka.

"I am not happy with what they've done following the conflict and we'll have some very frank conversations to make those points," he said at a joint press engagement held in this week with Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, a transcription of which was issued by the British High Commission here today.

He said he will visit Sri Lanka's north during his attendance at CHOGM.

Lankan officials said Cameron would thus become the first head of government to visit Jaffna since gained independence from Britain in 1948.

The British government is set to defy its own foreign affairs advisory committee recommendations by attending the Colombo summit. The committee said Britain should shun the summit.

Sri Lanka's lack of progress in its human rights accountability and achieving reconciliation with the Tamil minority have forced Canada, another leading Commonwealth nation to stay away from the summit.

First Published: Fri, October 25 2013. 16:07 IST
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