President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday provided New Delhi with a ready excuse for a likely vote in favour of a US backed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council Session this month, saying electoral compulsions in the country were understandable.
“Last year they voted against us. This year we do not know what they will do. But they have to face an election and must think about the future. As politicians we understand other politicians,” President Rajapaksa told the Foreign Correspondents Association at Temple Trees last afternoon.
He acknowledged that he was “uncomfortable” about the resolutions against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, and said he believed there should not be any resolutions against the country at all.
Asked if he believed the US was aiming at regime change by bringing resolution after resolution at the Council, Rajapaksa responded that there could be a ‘hidden agenda’. “As long as the people are with me, I am not afraid,” he added.
Sri Lanka’s president on Friday acknowledged his discomfort at the prospect of being censured by the UN’s top rights body, as he accused Washington of treating Colombo like Muhammad Ali’s “punching bag”.
External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris who also attended the meeting with the foreign correspondents said that the Sri Lanka issue was becoming a “nuisance” for member states of the UNHRC. “There is no appetite for this type of disproportionate resolution in Geneva,” Peiris said.
Rajapakse’s unease at the likely upbraiding in Geneva was echoed by his Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris who told the gathering: “We feel acutely uncomfortable by the pressure brought on us by a powerful country.”
*Photo credit – Facebook Page – Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka