Will seek international rights probe if Lanka fails: David Cameron

David CameronThe demand was, however, instantly rejected by the Sri Lankan government which ruled out any inquiry under any "pressure". (AP)

After an unprecedented visit to Jaffna, UK Prime Minister David Saturday today set a deadline of March for Sri Lanka to set up an independent inquiry commission failing which he will move the UN Human Rights Commission seeking an "international probe" into alleged rights abuses in the last phase of the war against the LTTE.

The demand was, however, instantly rejected by the Sri Lankan government which ruled out any inquiry under any "pressure"  or allow an independent international probe.

Cameron, who met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa last night after returning from a historic visit to war-ravaged Jaffna, the first foreign head of government to be there since the island's independence from Britain in 1948, said the two had a "free and frank" discussion on all issues including an independent and credible probe, reconciliation and rehabilitation of Tamils.

"I told President Rajapaksa that there is need for a credible, transparent and independent internal inquiry into the events at the end of the war (against LTTE) by the end of March. If that does not happen I will use our position to move the UN Human Rights Commission and work with the Rights Commissioner for an independent inquiry " Cameron told a press conference on the sidelines of the CHOGM summit here.

Ultimately it is about Sri Lanka's reconciliation with the affected Tamils of the northern province and rehabilitation of the people displaced by the war, he said.

Asked why he should wait till March for an independent probe, Cameron said the President told him that he needed time as they were still recovering from the effects of the war.

He said he accepted that position that Sri Lanka needed time for reconciliation.

"I understand it needs time," he added.

"There is a need for an independent probe into what happened in the no-war zone. I will fully back an international inquiry," he said.

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