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

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. I will not start giving percentages, marks out of 10 or grades of confidence, but those five issues are much higher on the agenda today than they were on Tuesday, before Foreign Minister Kouchner and I went. Tragically, for some Tamil civilians it is too late. That should drive us forward, to ensure that no time is lost on following through on these issues. It is very important that we recognise that democratic Governments are held to higher standards than terrorist organisations. I made that point in my statement. It recurs in a number of parts of the world where democratic Governments may feel frustration at the limits that are imposed on them in how they conduct their operations, but those limits are imposed for very good reason: if we do not defend the values that we are meant to uphold in the way that we attack terrorism, we fall to standards that we should not even consider. The fact that the LTTE is preventing civilians from leaving the combat zone says everything that we need to know about where its interests lie, but it is vital that the Government of Sri Lanka rise above that—they need to find a way that builds a peace as well as wins the war, and we are trying to work with them to achieve that.

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