Miliband in dock over Obama’s “Bermuda deal” without Britain’s consent

June 12th, 2009 - 5:43 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama London, June 12 (ANI): Following what is being seen as a humiliating snub by US President Barack Obama on Thursday when four Chinese Guantanamo Bay detainees were released to Bermuda, a British colony, without UK’s consent, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has been urged to give an explanation on the issue.

The deal to take the four Chinese prisoners, who the US government ruled were not enemy combatants, was agreed by Bermuda premier Ewart Brown without consulting the British Foreign Office, which retains authority over foreign and security issues.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague demanded an explanation from Miliband and said the Government appears to have “lost grip of running the country”.

“It is astonishing that an agreement of such significance between the US and Bermuda, involving the resettlement of four former terrorist suspects to a British overseas territory, could have taken place without a ripple reaching Whitehall,” he said.

“The UK is responsible for Bermuda’s external relations, defence and security and for appointing its governor. Yet the FCO appears to have had no idea that these discussions were taking place,” he added.

An urgent security assessment is now under way.

“We have underlined to the Bermuda government that it should have consulted the UK on whether this falls within their competence or is a security issue for which the Bermuda government does not have delegated responsibility,” The Daily Express quoted a Foreign Office spokesman, as saying.

“We have made clear to the Bermuda government the need for a security assessment which we are now helping them to carry out,” he added, saying that the four did not have the correct documentation so could not travel elsewhere at present.

Hague also took a potshot at the ruling Labour party by saying that the party may have been so busy solving its internal issues that it lost grip of running the country.

“This can only confirm the perception that the Labour Government has been so busy with its own internal turmoil that it has lost grip of running the country.

“Even before this blunder there were serious questions about whether the Government has paid sufficient attention to the UK overseas territories. Now these questions have reached a whole new level, demanding a response from the Foreign Secretary.” (ANI)

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