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Friday, 21 March 2014 - 9:39
Update : Australia issues another guarantee regarding Sri Lanka
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The Abbott government is resisting a push by its closest allies to establish a United Nations investigation into allegation in Sri Lanka, where Australia has returned more than 1100 failed asylum seekers in the past 18 months.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed Australia had not co-sponsored the resolution and wanted a motion to reflect ''progress'' in ''reconstruction and rehabilitation'' in Sri Lanka.

Australia has previously co-sponsored resolutions at the UN's Human Rights Council expressing concern on Sri Lanka's record but is understood to have exasperated the US, Canada, Britain and the Europe Union by not yet backing this one, which for the first time calls for an independent and comprehensive inquiry into the allegations.

Bishop said the government wanted to see a final text of the resolution before deciding whether it would co-sponsor the resolution.

She said Sri Lanka has made progress since the end of the war, including on reconstruction and rehabilitation and the Australian government expect this to be reflected in any final text.

Julie Bishop stated that the government encourages all parties to take a constructive approach to assist the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka.'


Update : Friday, 21 March 2014 - 12:44
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Julie Bishop stalls on UN call for Sri Lanka inquiry


The Abbott government is resisting a push by its closest allies to establish a United Nations investigation into allegation in Sri Lanka, where Australia has returned more than 1100 failed asylum seekers in the past 18 months.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed Australia had not co-sponsored the resolution and wanted a motion to reflect ''progress'' in ''reconstruction and rehabilitation'' in Sri Lanka.

Australia has previously co-sponsored resolutions at the UN's Human Rights Council expressing concern on Sri Lanka's record but is understood to have exasperated the US, Canada, Britain and the Europe Union by not yet backing this one, which for the first time calls for an independent and comprehensive inquiry into the allegations.

Bishop said the government wanted to see a final text of the resolution before deciding whether it would co-sponsor the resolution.

She said Sri Lanka has made progress since the end of the war, including on reconstruction and rehabilitation and the Australian government expect this to be reflected in any final text.

Julie Bishop stated that the government encourages all parties to take a constructive approach to assist the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka.'
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