US general to advise British armed forces on racism

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RETIRED United States general Colin Powell is to visit Britain to offer advice on the latest efforts to eradicate racism from the armed forces. The black former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has accepted a personal invitation to travel to Britain from Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson. It is expected that he will meet the chiefs of staff from the three services to offer advice on a range of issues.

The Ministry of Defence has signalled its determination to tackle discrimination in the armed forces after a string of allegation of racism in the military.

The visit has been timed to coincide with an Equal Opportunities Conference arranged by the MoD, at which he will be a keynote speaker. The ministry last month set the armed forces a target to recruit 2 per cent of the annual intake from ethnic minorities, and for this proportion to rise to 5 per cent by 2001-02.