Denying recent media reports that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw phoned Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera shortly after the government ordered attacks on LTTE-held Muttur east, the British High Commission spokesperson John Culley Thursday issued the following statement: `I am writing about the article `To Geneva through London and Bombs`, published in your 3rd May edition. In this article a telephone conversation between the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, and the Honourable Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, was reported at length. According to your newspaper the main purpose of the conversation was to query the number of civilian casualties in the air strikes that had taken place on 25 April. The article discussed how the UK knew about the air strikes so quickly and argued that this was evidence that the LTTE had a direct line to British Government Ministers. The article even argues that the air strikes may have been halted because of pressure from Mr. Straw.
In fact there was no conversation between Mr. Straw and Mr. Samaraweera. There was a conversation between our Deputy High Commissioner Ms Lesley Craig, and Mr. Samaraweera on 25 April. In this conversation Ms Craig passed on the condolences of the British government, including the personal condolences of Ms. Straw, over the terrorists attack on the army commander. Ms Craig also asked for confirmation of reports which were coming from media sources that air strikes were taking place.
Had your correspondent checked with us, we would have briefed him both on the fact of who spoke to whom and could have made clear the main purpose of the communication - namely, to pass on our official condolences at the attack on the army commander.`