» Thursday, November 11, 2004


Asked what the Prime Minister's view on the progress of the Hunting Bill was, the PMS told journalists that since the process was still going on would be unhelpful to comment on it before it was completed. The Prime Minister had already made his views known on hunting.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)


Asked if the Prime Minister believed that the passing of a figurehead such as Arafat provided an opportunity, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said he would not use the exact words used in the question. While we had never hidden the disagreements between Chairman Arafat and the Government it was important to recognise that Yasser Arafat had helped establish the vision of a two-state solution. The important thing now was to move forward and implement that vision and to do so in a way that not only recognised the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, but also guaranteed the security of the Israelis. We have now entered a new era where there will be a new Palestinian leadership, and the important thing now would be to help the new leader fill the vacuum that would be left by the Israelis disengagement from Gaza. This would be done by helping with the policing, administration, economic and political development fronts. This would lead the way forward to final status negotiations. What was important, therefore, about the Washington trip was that a signal of intent was sent out to help drive the process forward. As the PMOS said earlier in the week, he did not see the trip ending with a detailed timetable or proposals, but he did think it would send a signal of very serious intent to the region and to the respective government machines, and it would also set up a work plan that would determine the strategy of both governments from now on.

Briefing took place at 11:15 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Washington Talks

Asked if the President needed to push more force behind the momentum towards a peace process in the Middle East, the PMOS said that of course the Government wanted to drive it forward, and that they also recognised that the US was in a unique position to help drive that process forward. The PMOS also said that the two governments could not move it forward unilaterally. They could help the players in the regions, but they could not impose on them, and instead they would have to work with the Palestinians and the Israelis to drive it forward.

Briefing took place at 11:15 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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