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
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