British defence secretary Liam Fox is planning to defy the Foreign Office by making a personal visit to Sri Lanka this weekend to deliver a speech in honour of a former foreign minister, the guardian.co.uk reported.
The Foreign Office is debating whether to appeal to Downing Street to prevent Fox from visiting Sri Lanka.
The row erupted after Fox, who has personal links to Sri Lanka from his time as a Foreign Office minister in the 1990s and who has visited the country twice in the last 13 months, accepted an invitation to deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture. The invitation was issued by the widow of the late foreign minister, who was murdered by a Tamil Tiger sniper in 2005.
Whitehall sources said that William Hague, the foreign secretary, is annoyed by Fox's decision. One Whitehall source said: "It is dreadful. William is appalled. It will take No 10 to haul him in." Britain wants to maintain pressure on Colombo in light of questions about its assault on the Tamil Tigers.
A spokesman for Fox said on Wednesday night that none of the cost of the trip to Colombo would be paid for by the Sri Lankan government. "He will be paying for the hotel himself and he will be paying for the flight. The speech is about international security. It's nothing to do with anything that's going on in Sri Lanka."
Fox is understood to have discussed the trip with the Foreign Office. Hague is aware of the visit.
Two weeks ago, Fox held a private meeting with the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, during an abortive visit to Britain. Rajapaksa flew out promptly after the Oxford Union cancelled his speech because of a threat of mass protests while Tamil campaigners attempted to obtain a war crimes arrest warrant against members of his entourage.
BECAREFUL- YOUR LIFE WILL BE AT STAKE IN SRII LANKA
Random Ali Thursday, 16 December 2010 12:50 PM
He's a friend of Sri Lanka
Dr.I.M.C.Fernando-UK Thursday, 16 December 2010 01:09 PM
There is no statement from the British Government on a visit by the Hon.British Sec. Mr Fox to Sri Lanka. This is highly speculative !!!!!
Mushi Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:11 AM
Welcome Mr.Fox. MR always embraces true friends!!
Wimal_Modawansa Thursday, 16 December 2010 01:59 PM
Rupees at work.Well done fox.
malkanthi Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:13 AM
Britain should be shamed to release such a statement to prevent Liam Fox attending the memorial lecture of a great foreign minister, a very high caliber intellectual, who had a goof rapport with international community, well recognized world over, as well as locally. Should not mix politics with this.
FAZAL Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:14 AM
UK FURIOUS.....WHY WE ARE NOT LTTE... WE ARE SRILANKANS WE HAVE PEACE MORE THAN YOU HAVE YOU ARE NOT FUNDED FOR TERROR BUT WE WERE FUNDED FOR TERROR BY TERRORISTS. SO FOX IS WELCOME TO SRILANKA ANYTIME...PLEASE COME AND SEE OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE NORTH TO SOUTH...
Man.. Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:28 AM
I do not see any reason for UK to stop Mr. Fox's visit.
THE JUDGE Thursday, 16 December 2010 02:38 PM
Liam is a CUNNING FOX
kolla Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:33 AM
This clearly prove that British are really jealous of our achievement of defeating terrorism. Both miliband and Kushnar came to rescue prbakaran but when fox wanted to come to tribute one of great son of mother lanka they are furious.
Durbheeksha Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:41 AM
Long live (the) Fox!
Nimal Thursday, 16 December 2010 02:44 PM
Give him a red carpet.he is a friend of Sri Lanka.We need more like him in UK.
Phil Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:50 AM
Liam Fox is an influential person in world politics. I hope MR will make good use of his private visit. A tit for tat policy by Sri Lanka will be damaging her Europe relations further to a low level.
Andy Thursday, 16 December 2010 10:01 AM
Way to Go! Mr. Fox. Good to know there is at least one person with a backbone in the UK government.
sarath Thursday, 16 December 2010 03:41 PM
We will give full protection for him, even if he wants to move to SL permanently.
SUMI K Thursday, 16 December 2010 04:02 PM
Fox will bring the Channel 4 News video (Most watched Channel 4 News video ever) and give it to MR for Christmas gift.
channa Thursday, 16 December 2010 04:19 PM
Well said......He is coming on a private visit paid by himself......This is the democracy in UK? Shame on you UK Foreign office.
nagu Thursday, 16 December 2010 04:21 PM
WOW.... What a democracy in UK....Will they stop Tourists coming to Sri Lanka Next?
Danni - UK Thursday, 16 December 2010 04:23 PM
So Current Govt has taken money from the LTTE sympathizers also...
Ari Thursday, 16 December 2010 04:56 PM
It's a pity that the UK Foreign Office can resort to highly irrational and congtrokversial behaviour of this type. How can they reconcile their stance with democratic principles which they profess to practice?
Madihe son Thursday, 16 December 2010 05:14 PM
Hague is in the Tamils pocket. Tamils are pressurising him and he has to show that he has acted. Liam is a much more honorable and respected politician.
E CLASS 200 Thursday, 16 December 2010 05:50 PM
unlike David Miliband Welcome, Mr.Fox.
bigsam Thursday, 16 December 2010 10:57 AM
no statement has been issued. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. This is pure speculative journalism. British Govt has not issued any statement!
lal Thursday, 16 December 2010 10:58 AM
most of the u.k politicens have taken money from Ltte sympathisers to come to power. US and the EU cry for globle tererisome but they allow LTTE supporters to gather at a international Air Port when our president arrived at UK. They cannot protect a Head of State of a tiny nation in their own country . Even they cannot protect their own Prince Charles for being Mugged recently.Their Police was on a differnt Radio friquncy on that day.
Konde bendapu china Thursday, 16 December 2010 11:03 AM
think he was good friend of Ranil during peace talks
southpaw Friday, 17 December 2010 05:29 AM
the UK LTTE nexus is more than visible by the actions of the foreign office which reflects the influence of the Tamil Diaspora
David Russel Thursday, 16 December 2010 11:03 AM
Looking forward to the SL massage Mr. Fox!
YURI Thursday, 16 December 2010 06:22 PM
Only Criminal have good backbone
willows Thursday, 16 December 2010 11:32 AM
Now this is the best oppertunity to give him a red carpet welcome and show our hospitality, hope the General WW will not stage another tele drama in front of the Air port on his arrival
Kelby Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:08 PM
I hear that he has called off the trip.
adahan Thursday, 16 December 2010 11:53 AM
UK is following the footstep of Sri Lanka in restricting the ministers freedom.
Roland Kuranage Thursday, 16 December 2010 10:54 PM
Why UK furious over Mr.Fox visit to Srilanka . Srilanka is poor country but democracy is stability better than Europ. Those who uncontrolled people living in UK nothing to do . Sofar Srilanka did not insult to the forginer's if so . We are very proud We are always wellcome to our enemy's people can protesting every where what necessary, insulting we canot consent
Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.