Kosovo not comparable with Sri Lanka Lord Brown
* No indiscriminate bombing by SLAF Lord Neasby
* Tamils want independence
Gajendran P
by Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

Lord Malloch Brown warned the Tamils in London not to take Kosovo as a precedent in a bid to claim independence.

He said Kosovo was a unique case and a number of European and Asian countries are concerned about it.

In a lighter vein Lord Brown said the British Government was also worried that Scotland might claim Independence.

Addressing a group of Tamils, from the British Tamil Forum, in Room 4, of the committee corridor in the House of Lords on 25th February, Lord Brown said that the British Government could not push the Commonwealth to impose sanctions against Sri Lanka since the Sri Lankan Government had not committed any offence like Pakistan.

However, the British Government could push Norway and the European countries to have a dialogue with Sri Lanka to go for a negotiated settlement, he said.

He said they could support the efforts of Louis Arbour, Radhika Kumaraswamy and John Holmes to address the human rights issues.

He said that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had taken President Mahinda Rajapakse to Northern Ireland to show him how he could help Sri Lanka achieve a political solution, but the Sri Lankan Government had placed more emphasis on its war effort than on the peace process.

Lord Brown said that Norwegian Government's influence had failed to take the desired impact because of the change of government.

He said it was in order for the Tamils in Britain to ask the British Government to pressure the Sri Lanka Government to stop bombing in the North but the LTTE should also stop terrorist attacks in the South. He was referring to the bus bombing in Mount Lavinia the day before.

He said the Tamil Diaspora should not fund the LTTE.

Speaking at the meeting Lord Neasby said he had been

to Sri Lanka recently and he could not see any

indiscriminate bombing in the North. However, in a war it is difficult to avoid civilians being killed, he said. He said that there was no point enforcing economic sanctions against Sri Lanka since it was not going to work.

Lord Neasby also said that the Sri Lanka government put forward the All Party Representative Committee proposals for the problem and neighbouring India too was also supportive of them.

He said the British Tamil Forum did not represent all Tamils.

The other MPs like Simon Hughes, Barry Gardiner, Jeromy Corbyn, David Burrows, Susan Kramer and Edward Davy also spoke. Most of them were of the view that the Sri Lanka Government should be questioned about the human rights violations and the International Community should bring pressure to bear on the Sri Lankan government. Andy Love, MP, was present but did not speak. The notable absentee was Keith Vass MP.

Before the discussion started a member of the British Tamil Forum presented a slide show titled "Concerns and Moving Forward". There he tried to portray the Sri Lanka Government indiscriminately bombing and that the Kosovo example should be taken and Tamils be given independence.

TNA MP Gajan Ponnambalam, who was also there, said that majority of Tamils were now seeking independence.

He said although he was an elected member of Parliament he could not talk about independence which most Tamils wanted because of the Sixth Amendment to the Sri Lanka Constitution.

He urged the British Government to impose a Trade and Travel ban on Sri Lanka.


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