British foreign secretary William Hague says he believes Sri Lanka can make progress on dealing with accusations of war crimes made against its own forces.
The issue has dominated the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, which ends on Sunday.
The crimes were allegedly committed at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war.
Mr Hague told the Colombo-based Sunday Times that it is possible for the Sri Lankan Government to establish a war crimes inquiry before March.
That would make a big difference, he is quoted as saying, adding that Britain would be pursuing the issue.
The implication is that if it shows it is serious, Sri Lanka might be able to fend off British Prime Minister David Cameron's threat to push for an international, rather than domestic, inquiry, the BBC reports.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has dismissed calls for such an international inquiry.