Sri Lanka’s conflict has ancient roots – UK minister, Bishop

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 May 2009, 22:25 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict is ““obviously … a quarrel that has ancient roots. It is also an extremely violent quarrel, with appalling things being done by both sides,” Britain’s Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch-Brown said Monday. He was agreeing in the House of Lords with the Bishop of Portsmouth who objected to the President of Sri Lanka describing the island’s conflict as part of the “war on terror,” the website Religious Intelligence reported.

Bishop Kenneth Stevenson said at question time in the House of Lords that the Tamils are “an ancient people and the conflict, which has ethnic as well as religious overtones, is not a modern one”.

“Will the [UK] Government be as vociferous as possible in repudiating the language used by the President of Sri Lanka in describing this as a ‘war on terror’?” he asked.

“Many people in this House and beyond regard that as a very unfortunate piece of modern jargon, coined by the former President of the USA,” the Bishop added.

Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch-Brown replied: “I share the view that ‘the war on terror’ is a much abused and overused phrase. Obviously, this is a quarrel that has ancient roots. It is also an extremely violent quarrel, with appalling things being done by both sides.”

 

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