» Tuesday, March 22, 2005

China Arms Embargo

Asked if the EU was considering dropping its proposal to lift the Arms ban on China, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said no. The EU position was that we were in discussions with the United States. As the spokesperson for Javier Solana had said yesterday: "This issue is now more difficult and more complex both in substance and as regards the timeline." That was indicative of an EU discussion rather than a UK led discussion. That was how it should be. We said the EU would have consultations with the United States about this and that was what we were doing. Asked what the UK’s position was, the PMOS said that the position was that we wanted a consensus in the EU on this issue. We had never made a secret of the fact that we believed the EU code, provided it was strengthened, could meet US concerns. However that was a matter which was part of the discussion and therefore the EU would take the lead on this.

Asked if Jack Straw had pressed the Italian government into backing a delay on the proposal, the PMOS said that the point of it was that what we needed was an EU-US discussion and as Javier Solana’s spokesperson underlined yesterday, the EU itself wants a successful outcome to those consultations. There were however concerns in Washington and there were difficulties and the EU recognised that.

Asked if China’s recent move on Taiwan had made things more difficult, the PMOS said that Jack Straw had commented that inevitably that had soured the atmosphere somewhat. That was the reality of the situation. This was a matter that the EU and the US were discussing. That was the way it should be.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. A couple of points about this. Firstly, it’s a pity that the government weren’t so intent on achieving a consensus of opinion between the EU and the US in the lead up to the illegal invasion of Iraq. It’s obvious that the "consultations" with the US are to find out if the US will be willing to get involved should China get out of hand – or to ask Big Brother whether they think China ever WILL be a threat, in view of the US drive to corner for themselves the worlds remaining oil supplies.

    But the other point is more relevant, I think. In Tuesdays lobby briefings, Britains journalists managed to ask 2 questions?! That’s it??? There’s nothing going on in the world that they (and by extension, we the country) want or need to know about???

    Recently we had the results of a big scientific survey (partly funded by the White House) which proved unequivocally that global warming is a man-made problem. Even more recently there was a presentation made in the US Congress, no less, about Peak Oil and about how it is a real problem which the whole world needs to look at NOW.

    2 inter-related issues of more long-term importance than any others in human history, and not a word from our or the US government about either; WHY AREN’T OUR JOURNALISTS NAILING THE GOVERNMENT TO THE WALL ON A DAILY BASIS?????

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 22 Mar 2005 on 8:17 pm | Link
  2. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0219-01.htm

    Link to story about global warming survey


    Link to peak oil presentation

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 22 Mar 2005 on 8:30 pm | Link

    I fear you may be trapped in a Woodward and Bernstein fantasy. Pretty soon you’ll be thinking that MP’s are there to hold the government to account.

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 23 Mar 2005 on 11:52 am | Link
  4. Except in a very few instances career journalists never concern themselves with stories which will not make tomorrow morning’s headlines. Let’s not forget that Journalism is a living, not a social service.

    Career politicians have a time horizon of the date of the next General Election, only, and there are no votes in the topic of Global Warming for any of the main parties.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 23 Mar 2005 on 3:09 pm | Link
  5. Mr. Pooter says: I fear you may be trapped in a Woodward and Bernstein fantasy. Pretty soon you’ll be thinking that MP’s are there to hold the government to account.

    You’re absolutely right; I’m dreaming, really.

    Chuck Unsworth; I know all this – I was merely venting. The cyber equivelant of having a good hard scream.

    It’s a sad inditement of our political system in general though. It should not be up to the government to tell us which issues they think are important. The government is there to serve, not to dictate. It should be up to the electorate to decide exactly which issues we want our government to sort out for us. I know, I know; that would be dependant on the average voter possessing a little more knowledge than the headlines in The Sun. And also dependant on MPs starting to actually live up to the title of "Right Honourable". And upon the media from distorting things. And the government. None of which is likely to happen, because all are happy the way things are. Just winds me up, that’s all…!

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 23 Mar 2005 on 7:19 pm | Link
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