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Rajapakse defiant against "alien cultures"

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Friday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse attempted to deflect growing international pressure on Sri Lanka, labelling it “tainted”.

Rajapakse's speech comes as Sri Lanka faces increasing criticism for crimes committed as the Army completed its assault on the Vanni in May 2009.

See report by the AFP here.

In a speech full of religious references, Rajapakse defended Sri Lanka’s “values and traditions, and deeply held religious convictions” saying,

“These cannot be diluted or distorted under the guise of human rights, by the imposition of attitudes or approaches which are characteristics of alien cultures.

If this were done, it would amount to a violation of human rights in a fundamental sense."

Speaking out against mounting calls for accountanbility for war crimes, he stated that,

"My country has reason for concern with approaches tainted by an unacceptable selectivity, which we have brought to the notice of the organizations in question in recent weeks."

Rajapakse went on to state that Sri Lanka would not be defeated by international pressure, saying the “might of powerful nations cannot prevail”.

He also called for solidarity amongst other nations stating that they should work together "against these irregular modalities which should be resisted through our collective strength."

The Sri Lankan President went on to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praising his leadership skills and expressing gratitude at Iran’s assistance for Sri Lanka (see here).

Earlier President Ahmadinejad gave a speech to the General Assembly that was criticised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and prompted a mass walkout by more than 30 countries.