Sri Lanka

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:20 pm on 30th April 2009.

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Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Foreign Secretary 12:20 pm, 30th April 2009

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, who has campaigned long and hard on this issue. I wish that a large majority of the UN Security Council supported action on the issue. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun made the rather important point when I met him last week that, when he was in New York last week, all the demonstrations happening there were outside the buildings of countries that supported UN action. I fear that that number is not very large and certainly not large enough, but she can be assured that I will continue to work with all countries around the world on the issue.

The first question that my right hon. Friend asked was about the commitment to end so-called combat operations, or heavy mortar fire and the use of naval and air power. What I and Foreign Minister Kouchner said to the President and what we repeated to the Foreign Minister was that there could be no greater word of honour placed by the President and Defence Secretary of a country to two visiting Foreign Ministers but that the use of such weaponry will end. That is why, given that the stakes are so high on that word being its bond, we ensure that we bottom out all reports before we comment on them. The consequences could not be more serious for a country to promise that it will not use heavy weaponry and then to do so. That is why all reports or rumours need to be investigated. Equally, it is incumbent on me to be careful before making accusations that are not wholly well founded and well researched.

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