Sri Lanka protests British Foreign Secretary’s address to Tamils
Colombo: Sri Lanka lodged a protest with Britain on Wednesday over Foreign Secretary David Miliband`s decision to address a Tamil group that Colombo claims is a front for the former guerrilla Army.
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama summoned Mark Gooding, Britain`s acting high commissioner in Colombo, to protest Miliband`s planned address at the Global Tamil Forum in London.
"We lodged our protest as the organisation is known to be a front of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)," Bogollagama told reporters in Colombo.
The LTTE was militarily defeated in a major offensive in May last year, but the government claims rebel front groups still operate.
"In his speech to the Global Tamil Forum, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband will re-emphasise that a peaceful, political solution is the only way to produce a lasting answer to Sri Lanka`s conflict," the British High Commission said in a statement.
"It is for all Sri Lanka`s people to decide what that solution should look like," it said. "The UK will engage with all members of the Sri Lankan community who share this goal, whether overseas or in Sri Lanka."
The forum`s annual meeting on Wednesday was to be attended by the minority Tamil Diaspora from various parts of the world.
In a statement posted on the website, it said the event is seen as an "opportunity to further discuss and draw action plans in areas such as humanitarian aid, human rights, reconstruction and development."
More than 300,000 people were displaced in the final phase of the war, and some 100,000 still live in temporary camps, nearly nine months after the war.
The government claims that delay in clearing mines is one of the main reasons in postponing the resettlement.
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