Friday, May 1, 2009

Sri Lankan Defence Secretary launches angry attack on David Miliband

Sri Lanka's defence minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa has launched an angry verbal attack on Britain's foreign secretary David Miliband, accusing him of basing his policy on Tamil Tiger propaganda.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the president's brother raged at the co-ordinated pressure being put on his government by the international community and singled out this week's visit of Mr Miliband and Bernard Kouchner, his French counterpart, as a "waste of time".

He spoke after reports of a "stand up row" between him and Mr Miliband during a meeting in Colombo in which the Foreign Secretary was trying to persuade the Sri Lankan government to declare a ceasefire to allow civilians trapped in the fighting to leave.

Mr Rajapaksa, who is known as a passionate and feisty advocate of completely crushing the Tamil Tigers and capturing its leadership, said Mr Miliband had interrupted him during their meeting.

"Maybe it's his way but I don't mind his attitude or his ways. My issue is the present situation and why he should interfere in these things. That's what I told him. People in this country approve of what the president is doing and a leader must listen to people in his own country not the foreign minister of the UK," he said.

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