BBC: David Miliband declines EU role

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2009 8:10 PM

British foreign minister David Miliband has turned down the chance to become the European Union's envoy to the rest of the world, the BBC reported Monday.

The broadcaster said that Miliband ruled himself out of the race to become the EU's foreign representative in a conversation with former Danish Premier Poul Nyrup Rasmussen Sunday.

Miliband had been mentioned as a possible contender for the new post of European foreign minister, a job created by the recently ratified Lisbon Treaty.

But unlike former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose possible candidacy for the post of EU presidency has the endorsement of his successor Gordon Brown, U.K. officials have been cool to the idea of parachuting Miliband into a European role.

Earlier this month Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of Brown's ruling Labour Party, said she could not spare Miliband.

"He is our foreign secretary," Harman said in an appearance on a Sunday television talk show. "I don't think he wants to go ... and we'll be keeping him here."

The BBC quoted Brown's spokesman as saying earlier Monday that the leader "has no intention of nominating David Miliband, because that is not an eventuality that is actually going to happen, on the basis that David Miliband has made it clear that he doesn't want the job."

Miliband himself strongly hinted that he was not interested in the role last month when he said that he was "absolutely to committed" to a U.K. role.

Britain's Foreign Office did not immediately return a call seeking comment early Tuesday.