Mr. Adam Werritty, the close friend of British Defence Secretary Liam Fox whose working relationship with the minister is under investigation by the Ministry of Defence and at the centre of a media storm, was a frontman for Dr. Fox in the latter’s dealing with Sri Lanka, The Daily Telegraph newspaper revealed Monday.
Mr. Werritty "played a central part in arranging [Dr. Fox's] contacts with members of the Sri Lankan government [in 2010 and 2011]," the paper said.
The Independent newspaper has also uncovered the same. See its report here.
British press reports revealed last week that Mr Werritty accompanied Dr Fox to meetings in Colombo and London with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ministers. See The Guardian newspaper's report here.
The Daily Telegraph said it can now disclose that Mr Werritty was in direct contact with Sri Lankan ministers on Dr Fox’s behalf in December last year.
The minister had planned a “private” trip to Colombo on Dec 20, which was vetoed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
British diplomats believe Dr Fox’s close relationship with the Sri Lankan government, which is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, undermines UK foreign policy.
It is understood that Mr Werritty had flown to Colombo several days before Dr Fox’s scheduled arrival in December, the paper says.
When the FCO intervened, it was Mr Werritty, and not the British embassy, who told Sri Lankan ministers that the trip had been called off, the paper adds.
Prof. GL Peiris, the Sri Lankan foreign minister, is understood to have asked Mr Werritty to ensure that the trip was described as postponed instead of cancelled, and the MoD later issued a statement saying Dr Fox’s visit had been “postponed”.
Dr. Fox subsequently carried out the trip in July this year, when Mr Werritty was again in Sri Lanka.
What is not clear is why Mr. Werritty, said to have defence industry links, was acting for Dr. Fox in the latter’s interactions with Sri Lanka, not least given the latter's close links with the Colombo establishment.
See the video published by The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian newspapers of Dr. Fox and Mr. Werritty meeting President Rajapaksa in London last December: