» Monday, September 4, 2006

Middle East

Asked when the Prime Minister's trip to the Middle East would be, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that there was no new information on that. We would announce it when we believed it would be helpful to the process to do so. The Prime Minister had made it clear in his Los Angeles speech that he believed, despite the obvious difficulties at the moment, that people needed to re-engage. His trip would be a part of trying to get that process of re-engagement up and running and we would announce it whenever we were ready. Put that the Israeli newspaper Heretz was reporting a meeting on Saturday night with Prime Minister Olmert, the PMOS said that his usual advice on these occasions was for people not to get ahead of themselves. That applied in this case too.

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


Asked if the Prime Minister had any remarks on the latest serviceman death in Afghanistan, the PMOS confirmed that very sadly a suspected suicide bomber at about 10.30am local time this morning had attacked a UK military convoy in Kabul. Sadly one UK soldier had been killed and another was very seriously injured. That soldier had been evacuated to a military hospital for treatment. No further details would be available until next of kin had been notified. The Prime Minister's view was one of sadness, but it also underlined again our debt of gratitude to the army and security services. Asked whether Kim Howells' visit had been arranged before the Nimrod crash, the PMOS said he thought it had been. Put that Kim Howells had said this morning that there was definitely a need for a larger force in Afghanistan, that NATO countries should supply them and therefore why were we not appealing for troops, the PMOS said that Kim Howell's style was to answer a direct question with a direct answer which was fine. Equally, however such discussions were best carried out behind the scenes.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Social Exclusion

Asked whether the speech would be more philosophical than policy driven, the PMOS said that the speech would be a mixture of both. First of all we needed to get across the understanding of why we were focussing in particular on this issue. If people looked at the figures on children that had been in care who then offended they were quite shocking. The Prime Minister would be setting out a way in which we could work with families and individuals socially excluded to try and improve their life chances. This was key and a very real issue.

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

Northern Ireland

Asked if anything would happen between now and November, the PMOS said that Northern Ireland would be a very important part of the agenda this autumn. We had seen over the summer some genuine progress. The parties had taken the preparations for government committee seriously. This was a committee where all the parties were represented as part of the preparations to meet the 24 November deadline. We now needed to take co-operation to a new phase and a very important part of that would be the two Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) reports. One would be on the normalisation process, which would come most likely before too long and the second, due in October, would be an update report on paramilitary activity.

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

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