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Keith Vaz appointed EU ambassador

Leading NRI MP Keith Vaz has been appointed by the European Commission as one of its 10 UK ambassadors for the 2008 year of cultural diversity.

world Updated: Apr 22, 2008 16:50 IST

Leading NRI MP Keith Vaz has been appointed by the European Commission as one of its 10 UK ambassadors for the 2008 year of cultural diversity.

Welcoming the appointment, Vaz, former Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said in a statement that it belied the anti-diversity sentiments voiced by Enoch Powell, former Tory MP, 40 years ago.

In the statement, Vaz, who is also Chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select committee, said: "This year marks 40 years since Enoch Powell spoke about what he saw as the folly of immigration. This initiative will go some way in proving that the rivers of blood that he predicted are far from being the reality that we see today.

"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."

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