Sri Lanka faces international isolation: ex-foreign minister

COLOMBO, Feb 15, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka faces international isolation for failing to pay close heed to human rights issues, former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera warned Thursday. He said he was troubled by the renewed violence and a rising number of deaths, as well as a big increase in unsolved kidnappings across the island.

“There is growing concern among (the) international community over allegations of abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings,” Samaraweera told reporters.
“We have to allow international investigators to come here, otherwise we risk international isolation.”

By ignoring outside pressure, Samaraweera said the government was strengthening the hand of the Tamil Tiger rebels, who have been fighting for an independent homeland since 1972.

“The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam) are trying to project Sri Lanka as a violator of human rights. They want to bring a UN fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka to investigate,” he said.

The ex-minister was a key ally of President Mahinda Rajapakse during the 2005 November presidential election campaign.

But the pair fell out over ideological differences and Samaraweera has criticised th