» Monday, November 8, 2004

Iraq

Asked what the chain of command was in regard to Fallujah given British troops were involved in the wider operation and whether Britain would be informed in advance when a decision was made by Prime Minister Allawi, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) reinforced that it was PM Allawi's decision. He had set out both in Brussels, in an interview with the BBC and in other comments over the weekend his view of the situation in Fallujah. The Prime Minister had a very detailed meeting with Prime Minister Allawi in Brussels for an hour so we were made fully aware of his thinking. In terms of the Black Watch the PMOS stressed again what was said when their deployment was announced that they remained under British command. Asked to clarify that when Allawi made his decision that he would then tell us the PMOS said that when the decision was made we would be fully aware of what that decision was.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Iraq


Asked if the Prime Minister had had any conversations with Prime Minister Alawi, the PMOS told journalists that they had had a long and detailed conversation last Friday. As a result of that conversation the Prime Minister was fully aware of the issues. No further contact was necessary although naturally the UK government maintained full contact with the interim administration inIraq at all levels.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Iran

Asked about the developments with regards to nuclear programmes inIran, the PMOS told journalists that there had been a tentative agreement amongst the political directors. That had to be reported back to their respective Governments, and then decisions taken. It was not simply in our hands or the American's hands, but in the hands of others, including the Iranians.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Middle East

Asked if it was fair to say that the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) was top of the US trip agenda and whether the PM had any ideas how to revive the roadmap the PMOS said that in terms of the significance the Prime Minster places on the importance of MEPP he would point people in two directions. First they should look at what he said in his party conference speech where he said that after the US elections the MEPP would be a personal priority and secondly what he said after the re-election of President Bush in which he said that a key part of the dialogue with President Bush would be about revitalising the MEPP. The PMOS said that it was important to pause and look at where we were. It was inevitable given the length of the US election process that things would be on hold for that reason but also for reasons more integral to the Middle East itself. We all had to recognise that the process had lost momentum so the first priority therefore was to restore that momentum and to do so by clearly stating our intent that we do want to see the process revitalised. In terms of process and procedure we should take that one step at a time. The most important thing first of all was to get some momentum back into the process.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Regional Referendum

Asked about the regional offices set up around Britain, presumably as templates for regional assemblies, in effect unelected quango's, whether now that this prospect was effectively off the agenda if the Government was content to carry on with these unelected quango's making important regional decisions the PMOS said that in terms of the detail he should speak to the ODPM but in terms of ensuring that there were important coherent regional voices that were reflected in Government that was something that would continue and indeed the Government was anxious for it to continue.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Middle East

Asked what the Prime Minister expected to get from the President with regards to the Middle East, the PMOS told journalists that as he had said this morning, discussions should be allowed to take place. We all accepted that due to the length of the US election process, and also due to factors on the ground, momentum had slowed in the Middle East Peace Process in the last year. It was now time to pick up that momentum and what would come from the meeting would be a signal of intent as to how we might do that.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Other Business

Asked if the Prime Minister would be picking up his Congressional Medal this week, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that it was not on the agenda. This was a brief working visit to the White House.

Asked about developments with respect to Sudan, the PMOS said that there was a process of dialogue going which involved the UN which has an end of year deadline attached to it. We should wait and see how that went. The Sudanese Government were well aware that this was not an issue where the attention of the outside world would turn away. That attention would stay focussed on Sudan until the Sudanese Government complied with its obligations. Equally that was true for the rebels as well.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

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