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Statement as Foreign Secretary expresses solidarity after Sri Lanka attacks

23 April 2019 (updated on 23 April 2019)

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Addressing the Commons, the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed grief and promised solidarity following the Sri Lankan terror attacks which killed more than 300 on Sunday 21 April.

Churches and luxury hotels were targeted in a series of coordinated attacks on the morning of Easter Sunday. Of the 321 currently confirmed dead, eight were Britons.

The Sri Lankan authorities have declared a state of emergency, and made a number of arrests related to the attack. It is not currently known if a terrorist organisation is responsible for the attacks, though several, including the Islamic State have claimed responsibility. Sri Lanka's government has blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

In a statement to MPs, the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said;

“These attacks were a primitive and vile attempt to sow division between people of different faiths. Religious tensions have caused some of the bloodiest battles in human history, and it is sombre and sobering that even in the 21st Century, attempts continue to set believers of different religions against each other. Our response must be to deny the perpetrators the satisfaction of dividing us.”

Speaking for the Opposition, Emily Thornberry expressed her "unbearable shock and sadness" and thanked the Foreign Secretary for the tone of his speech. She joined him in offering condolences to those affected as well as thanks to British personnel in Sri Lanka for their help and support during the crisis. She said that she had confidence in the willingness of the Government to offer assistance to Sri Lanka following the attacks, and said the Minister had the Opposition's support and thanks for this.

She said;

"Today is simply a time for this House and this country to stand with the people of Sri Lanka."

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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