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British Foreign Secretary listens

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 April 2009 09:17 No Comment]

“We have heard their [Tamil] voice and will keep listening”, said British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, in a statement on Saturday. Saying that the British government is for ‘immediate ceasefire’ and for civilians to be ‘allowed to leave’, and the UN is progressing in making GoSL agreeing to send ‘support to civilians’ and LTTE agreeing to ‘allow civilians to leave’, the Foreign Secretary didn’t fail to mention that this is a stance in unison of Britain, France, US and many other governments. Commenting on his statement, British diaspora circles told TamilNet that the statement didn’t touch the crucial issue of ‘civilians going where’.

Being heard is perhaps the only progress achieved hitherto, but the mindset impairs listening leading to right action, the diaspora circles said.

Meanwhile, as starvation deaths knock the doors of the civilians of Vanni, the British government has reportedly put on hold a mercy mission by the Tamil diaspora shipping food and medicine.

Full text of the statement by the British Foreign Secretary follows:

PRESS RELEASE: SATURDAY 18 APRIL 2009
FOREIGN SECRETARY STATEMENT ON SRI LANKA

I remain gravely concerned at the continuing conflict in northern Sri Lanka that threatens many thousands of civilian lives. The British Government maintains its calls for an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka and for civilians to be allowed to leave the conflict area. We have been joined by many other Governments, including France and the United States, in making similar calls.

The United Nations is engaged. The UN are making progress with the Government of Sri Lanka towards an agreement to get support to civilians in the conflict zone and on efforts to get agreement from the LTTE to allow civilians to leave._ We will ask the UN Secretary-General’s Representative, Mr Nambiar, to report immediately to the UN Security Council, after his visit. And the Prime Minister’s Special Representative, Des Browne MP, is travelling to New York to consult urgently with the UN.

Protests and demonstrations around the world have highlighted the tragic loss of life of innocent civilians in Sri Lanka. Further loss of life will only compound that tragedy. The Tamil community are a community we value and they make an important contribution to British society. They have seen friends and relatives perish, and their loved ones are still at grave risk from the fighting. We have heard their voice and will keep listening. We are committed to do all we can to bring this terrible conflict to an end.

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