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Des Browne shows his hand

British MP, Des Browne, recently named as Britain’s special envoy to Sri Lanka was one of those who attended a diaspora Tamil conference in London last week where no criticism of the LTTE holding a captive human shield of civilians in the last sliver of land the Tigers hold in the Vanni.

"These are the people foisted on us to try and find a fair settlement," senior official sources in Colombo said yesterday. "This was called a Tamil diaspora conference but was obviously a clear last ditch effort on behalf of the LTTE."

Among those who attended this meeting was veteran American civil rights campaigner, Ref. Jesse Jackson who said that "we (the global community) have a moral obligation to stop the killings" in Sri Lanka, TamilNet reported.

Among those who attended this conference were Mike Griffiths, a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, Lord Falconer, former Lord Chancellor, Siobhan McDonaugh, MP, Simon Hughes, MP, Keith Vaz, MP, and Sir Jimmy Savile.

According to the TamilNet report, Browne had said that estimating the numbers killed at 70,000 "was probably an understatement."

He had also said that civilians must have the freedom to leave the conflict zone ignoring the fact that the LTTE was holding trapped civilians as a human shield and not permitting them to leave.

McDonaugh had said that the intention of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointing the special envoy (Des Browne) was to focus on the final solution and the humanitarian crisis and expressed disappointment of the British government that Sri Lanka has turned down Browne’s appointment.

Browne was reported to have said that the UK did not wish to impose a solution ("that is for the Sri Lankans to decide") adding that like in Northern Ireland ``the only viable solution was political and not military.’’

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