British to push for Sri Lanka peace

Nov 13, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s former colonial ruler Britain will send a special envoy to the island Tuesday to help salvage a tattered peace process, diplomats said. British MP Paul Murphy will meet with Sri Lankan leaders during a three-day visit and share his experience of the Northern Ireland peace process, the British High Commission said in a statement.

“While in Sri Lanka Mr. Murphy will meet a range of key participants in the Sri Lankan peace process and share his experiences of building peace in Northern Ireland,” the statement said.

The visit comes after British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Mahinda Rajapakse met in August to discuss ways in which the former colonial ruler could support the Norwegian-facilitated peace process.

Murphy was the cabinet minister responsible for Northern Irish affairs between 2002 and 2005 and was closely involved in the Northern Ireland peace process.

He is currently the chairman of the British Intelligence and Security Committee.

The visit follows the failure of talks between the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Geneva last month aimed at moving forward the peace