Vaz is EU ambassador, says appointment rebuts Powell

April 22nd, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 22 (IANS) Former British minister Keith Vaz has been appointed by the European Commission as one of their 10 UK ambassadors for the 2008 year of cultural diversity. Vaz, who is Britain’s senior-most Asian MP and was minister for Europe in the government of Tony Blair, said his appointment belied the anti-diversity sentiments expressed by Tory MP Enoch Powell in a speech warning of “rivers of blood” 40 years ago.

“This year marks 40 years since Enoch Powell spoke about what he saw as the folly of immigration. This initiative will go some way to proving that the rivers of blood that he predicted are far from being the reality that we see today,” Vaz said.

He currently serves as chairperson of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

“Europe has a great deal to contribute to the furtherance of intercultural dialogue. Europe’s diversity is a rich source of vitality and creativity. Europe needs to make the most of its open borders,” he added in a statement Monday.

Other ambassadors include French songwriter-activist Charles Aznavor, Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho, Swedish author and screenwriter Henning Mankle and the 2007 Eurovision song contest winner, Marija Serifovic of Serbia.

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