Sri Lanka averts rift spilling over to UN rights session

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Sri Lanka averts rift spilling over to UN rights session
FILE- In this Oct. 3, 2017, file photo, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, left, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe attend a special session held to mark the country's seventieth anniversary of the first parliament of democracy, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sirisena has kept his country’s internal political rift from spilling over to a UN human rights council meeting this week by abandoning plans to oppose his prime minister’s decision to co-sponsor a resolution that would give the island nation more time to address war crime allegations stemming from its long civil war. The co-resolution to be adopted on March 21, 2019 would give Sri Lanka two more years to investigate and prosecute suspects of rights violations. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s leader has abandoned plans to oppose his prime minister’s support of a United Nations resolution that would give the island nation more time to address war crime allegations stemming from its long civil war.

On the U.N. human rights council agenda this week is a report by High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet criticizing Sri Lanka for failing to fulfill its pledge to investigate alleged atrocities by the military and now-defunct Tamil Tiger rebels. The co-resolution up for adoption on Thursday would extend Sri Lanka’s deadline by two years.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena came into power in 2015 promising to help the war-torn country reconcile, including by investigating allegations during the rule of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. With an eye toward upcoming elections, Sirisena has changed his stance.