Britain 'sorry' for upset over Rushdie honour
The British Foreign Secretary insists the honour was being conferred on Rushdie for his literary achievements.world Updated: Jun 20, 2007 22:41 IST
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said on Wednesday that Britain was "sorry" if people were upset by the knighthood given to writer Salman Rushdie, but insisted it was for his literary achievements.
"Obviously we are sorry if there are people who have taken very much to heart this honour, which is after all for a lifelong body of literary work," she said, after protests in the Muslim world over the award.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, asked to comment on the Rushdie row during a joint press conference with Beckett in London, said he thought the knighthood was "untimely."
"I dont have any official position from my government on this issue, but I think it could be used by many quarters to exploit this issue," he told reporters.