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* Britain defends Foreign Secretary Miliband's address to Tamil forum
Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 08:24 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 24, Colombo: The British government today defended its Foreign Secretary's decision to address the inaugural meeting of the Global Tamil Forum in London.

A British High Commission spokesperson confirming that the British Foreign Secretary would address the GTF said the Foreign Secretary David Miliband in his speech to the Global Tamil Forum will re-emphasise that a peaceful, political solution is the only way to produce a lasting answer to Sri Lanka's conflict.

It is for all Sri Lanka's people to decide what that solution should look like, the spokesperson stressed.

"The UK firmly believes that the only way to achieve lasting and equitable peace in Sri Lanka is through genuine national reconciliation. The UK will engage with all members of the Sri Lankan community who share this goal, whether overseas or in Sri Lanka," the British High Commission spokesperson added.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials regularly meet with members of the Sinhalese, Muslim, and Tamil communities in the UK to discuss this and other developments in Sri Lanka, the spokesperson noted.

William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary of British parliament, is to make the closing address at the Global Tamil Forum. Several British MPS are expected to attend the event showing cross-party support for Sri Lanka's Tamils in the UK.

Miliband's address to GTF is seen as a move to give credibility to the proposed LTTE government in exile. The British government's participation in the forum is threatening the already strained bilateral relations between the two nations.

Political observers in the UK say the British parliamentarians are trying to woo the large number of Tamil votes in their localities ahead of Britain's upcoming general election this year.

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