UK foreign minister takes leave after adopting child

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LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) British Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced on Monday that he would be taking leave after adopting a child.

A Foreign Office spokesman said Miliband and his wife had completed the adoption in the United States last week.

''The foreign secretary is now taking a period of leave and asks that the media respect his and his wife's wish for privacy,'' the spokesman said.

The couple already have an adopted child.

Miliband had been due to speak at a conference today alongside the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

The Foreign Office said neither would now be attending the conference, but junior foreign office minister Kim Howells and the Saudi ambassador to London would attend instead.

A spokesman denied the cancellation of Miliband's speech was a snub to the Saudis prompted by comments by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah that Britain is failing to do enough to tackle international terrorism. King Abdullah is due to arrive in Britain later today for a state visit.

''The Saudis will be seeing a range of ministers, including the prime minister,'' the spokesman said.

A government source said Miliband cancelled at such short notice because he was waiting for the adoption to be finalised.

REUTERS SKB KN1721

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