World

International showdown brews over calls for full inquiry into Sri Lankan war atrocities

  • Sri Lankan policemen try to control ethnic Tamil people, whose relatives are missing, during a protest outside a public library where British Prime Minister David Cameron was meeting Tamil leaders, in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, Friday, Nov.15, 2013. Cameron Friday traveled into northern areas that saw the worst of the war between soldiers and ethnic Tamils rebels fighting for a homeland. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

    Sri Lankan policemen try to control ethnic Tamil people, whose relatives are missing, during a protest outside a public library where British Prime Minister David Cameron was meeting Tamil leaders, in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, Friday, Nov.15, 2013. Cameron Friday traveled into northern areas that saw the worst of the war between soldiers and ethnic Tamils rebels fighting for a homeland. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron talks to villagers of Internally displaced peoples camp at Chunnakam village, in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Cameron Friday traveled into northern areas that saw the worst of the war between soldiers and ethnic Tamils rebels fighting for a homeland. Meanwhile, hundreds of ethnic Tamils protested in the main northern city of Jaffna before Cameron's arrival, demanding answers about the thousands who went missing near the war's end in 2009. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

    British Prime Minister David Cameron talks to villagers of Internally displaced peoples camp at Chunnakam village, in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Cameron Friday traveled into northern areas that saw the worst of the war between soldiers and ethnic Tamils rebels fighting for a homeland. Meanwhile, hundreds of ethnic Tamils protested in the main northern city of Jaffna before Cameron's arrival, demanding answers about the thousands who went missing near the war's end in 2009. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)  (The Associated Press)

Sri Lanka remained defiant against calls for an independent inquiry into its 27-year civil war — setting the stage for an international showdown as Britain's leader pledged to press the issue with the United Nations if no progress is made by March.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he held a "frank" discussion with President Mahinda Rajapaksa after skipping the first day of a Commonwealth summit to travel to Sri Lanka's war-torn north on a fact-finding mission on Friday.

He said "not everything I said was accepted, but I sense they do want to make progress on these issues and it will help frankly by having international pressure."

The Sri Lankan government dismissed Cameron's comments Saturday. Water minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said "we will resist an international inquiry."