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British PR firm wrote Rajapaksa's UN speech

According to the UK newspaper, Independent, Bell Pottinger wrote Mahinda Rajapaksa's key address to the UN in 2010, after the original draft, written by Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry was ditched. 

Speaking to undercover reporters, chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Relations, David Wilson, said,

"We had a team working in the President's office."

"We wrote the President's speech to the UN last year which was very well received... it went a long way to taking the country where it needed to go."

The Independent reports that part of Bell Pottinger's remit was to specifically "influence the foreign media in favour of the Sri Lankan government".

During the speech to the UN, Rajapaksa described the military's treatment of the captured LTTE cadres as a "humanitarian" operation and promoted the LLRC as an enquiry where the "full expression to the principles of accountability" had been given.

Wilson however, allegedly criticised the LLRC when speaking to the undercover reporters, arguing that the LLRC had a "fundamental flaw in its remit in investigating what has gone on in the past, to try to bury the past".

Last year reports emerged that Bell Pottinger, headed by Lord Bell, had received over £3 million to boost Sri Lanka's post war image.

"I am not an international ethics body," said Lord Bell. "We do communications work. If people want to communicate their argument we take the view that they are allowed to do so."

See original reports in the Guardian (03 Aug 2010):

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