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Sri Lankan president distances himself from pledges to UN

March 27, 2019 GMT

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president has distanced himself from the government’s recent co-sponsorship of a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council giving the island nation two more years to fulfil its commitment to investigate alleged abuses during its civil war.

In a speech Wednesday highlighting factionalism within the government, President Maithripala Siriena says the country’s U.N. representative gave Sri Lanka’s consent to the resolution without his knowledge or that of the foreign minister.

He says the consent resulted from “wrong decisions by sections of the government,” in a reference to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, with whom he has a dispute.

Sirisena says signing the co-sponsorship is akin to betraying the armed forces which won the civil war in 2009.