» Monday, August 14, 2006

Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister

The Prime Minister's Spokesman told journalists that the Prime Minister had spoken to President Musharraf of Pakistan on Friday to thank him for his country's contribution and work on the intelligence lead counter terror operation. The Prime Minister had also spoken to Prime Minister Siniora on Saturday who had thanked the Prime Minister for his efforts in helping to bring about the cessation of hostilities. They also discussed the immediate way ahead and the longer-term search for peace in the region. The Prime Minister had been speaking to officials over the weekend and he had spoken to the Deputy Prime Minister last night as well as the Home Secretary and Douglas Alexander. The Prime Minister continued to keep his holiday plans under review.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Middle East

Asked where the Foreign Secretary was, the PMS said her understanding was the she had left New York but that people should speak to the Foreign Office for details. The PMS also informed journalists that Hilary Benn had indicated that he would be visiting the region in the near future. Asked about a parliamentary recall, the PMS pointed out that the situation had moved on significantly since the letter had been sent. There were no plans to recall parliament at present. Asked how confident the Prime Minister was that the ceasefire would hold, the PMS reiterated what the Prime Minister had said in response to the resolution being passed. He had said that it was tragic that so many innocent lives, Lebanese and Israeli, had been lost over the past weeks. We must now take the necessary steps to ensure that it is never repeated and of course that the passage of the resolution is immensely welcome. The Prime Minister had gone on to say that that there would continue to be difficulties until it was clear that the combination of Lebanese forces and the UN multinational force could be effectively deployed in returning control of the South of Lebanon to the Lebanese government. We were now following closely the work to pull together an international force and that planning would now intensify both in New York and in Beirut.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

DPM/Airports/Counter-Terror Operation

Asked which airports the Deputy Prime Minister had visited, the PMS said that he had visited Stansted, Humberside and Doncaster. Put that the person interviewed on the Today Programme had not seemed to share the views of the Deputy Prime Minister and had complained about the security and queues, the PMS said that the Transport Secretary, Douglas Alexander had addressed the points made on the radio this morning. The Deputy Prime Minister had said that he had been impressed by the patient understanding that he had heard expressed by the people on the ground. Asked whether the Deputy Prime Minister had talked to airline chiefs, the PMS referred the journalist to what the Transport Secretary had said. The government was in regular contact with the bodies involved including the airlines.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Armed Forces Cuts

Asked about the reports suggesting that the armed forces are being asked to make cutbacks, the PMS said that she had not heard a source on where those reports had come from.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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