» Monday, October 30, 2006


Put that the UK was moving its staff from the consulate to the airport in Basra, and was this a bad sign for security in the area, the PMOS replied that they were adjusting to local circumstances. What it would not do in any way would be to affect our determination to stay and do the job.

Asked if that meant that things had become a lot worse in Basra, the PMOS replied that he was not going to act as a commentator on the situation on the ground. It was an operational decision and we respected fully operational decisions. The PMOS said again that what it did not mean in any way was a weakening in either our resolve to do the job, or our determination to do so.

Put that the Iraqi Foreign Minister was going to ask for an extension of the UN mandate for international troops to remain in Iraq for another year, and did we welcome that, and also, the Iraqi Foreign Minster had said that the Syrian Foreign Minister would visit, and was that a good thing, the PMOS said that with regards to the Syrian visit, that was a matter for Syria and Iraq. In terms of the UN mandate, it was a matter for the UN. The PMOS paused at this point to marvel at the fact that this was the first time that a journalist had recognised in a question that we were there with a UN mandate.

Asked if we thought that Syrian’s involvement in sorting out the difficulties in Iraq would help, the PMOS said that what we had always said was that Syria, along with Iran, had a choice: either to work constructively with those who were trying to achieve progress, or to continue to support terrorists as they had been. It was now down to Syria to choose.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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