Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday summoned the Acting British High Commissioner in Colombo Mark Gooding to the Foreign Ministry to express Sri Lanka s strong protest against the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband s intent to address the London Conference of the pro-LTTE Global Tamil Forum on Feb. 24 in London.
The Foreign Minister told media yesterday that he had informed the Acting High Commissioner that the GTF consisted of several LTTE front organisations based mostly in the western countries and that its objective was to create a separate state of Tamil Eelam.
Minister Bogollagama emphasised that Foreign Secretary Miliband by participating at the GTF Meeting in London would unfortunately lend credibility to an organisation propagating the separatist agenda of the LTTE and would be acting in a manner inimical to the national interest of Sri Lanka and its legitimate government.
Minister Bogollagama said that the GTF had been formed to launch the so called `Provisional Trans-National Government of Tamil Eelam`, and hence posed a direct threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
Bogollagama said he had asked the Acting High Commissioner to convey to the British government that he urged Foreign Secretary Miliband to change his decision to address the GTF Meeting in London, if the Foreign Secretary was genuinely interested in supporting the legitimate government elected by the people of Sri Lanka to achieve peace and reconciliation among all communities.
The Minister said he had also indicated that Sri Lanka encouraged the British Government to directly engage with the Sri Lankan government in achieving this shared objective of peace and reconciliation.
The Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka expected the British Government and its representatives interested in achieving a durable peace in Sri Lanka to encourage the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to give up the LTTE s monolithic separatist agenda and to work constructively towards an inclusive peace. The non-participation of Foreign Secretary Miliband at the GTF meeting in London would be the best way to convey this message, the Minister said.
The British Foreign Secretary made his intention of addressing the GTF known in a statement delivered at the British House of Commons yesterday.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the British High Commission in Colombo confirmed that the British Foreign Secretary would address the Global Tamil Forum in London on February 24.
The spokesperson said: 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. It is for all Sri Lanka s people to decide what that solution should look like. 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. 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.