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Cameron lands in Sri Lanka ahead of trip to former war zone

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived Thursday in Sri Lanka ahead of a Commonwealth summit which is set to be overshadowed by his historic visit to the island's former war zone.

Cameron flew in to Colombo around midnight (1830 GMT) from neighbouring India on the eve of the summit, according to a photographer at the airport.

The three-day meeting is being boycotted by several leaders in protest at alleged war crimes committed in the final days of Sri Lanka's decades-long ethnic conflict.

Although the British prime minister decided to attend the summit, he is expected to head to the northern Jaffna region on Friday afternoon, only hours after the meeting in Colombo begins.

He will be the first foreign leader to visit the Tamil-dominated former war zone since Sri Lanka -- a former British colony once known as Ceylon -- won independence in 1948.

Sri Lanka's army, which is almost entirely made up of ethnic Sinhalese, crushed the ethnic Tamil rebels in May 2009 in an onslaught that has since been dogged by war crime allegations.

Cameron has said he plans to have "tough conversations" with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse about his administration's human rights record, and the pair are expected to meet late Friday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131114/cameron-lands-sri-lanka-ahead-trip-former-war-zone