» Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lebanese Minister

Asked what the Prime Minister’s reaction was to the assassination of the Lebanese Minister, Pierre Gemayel, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister has spoken about it with the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, and he had said that it was totally without justification and totally to be condemned, that we must do everything we can to support the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and do everything we can to move forward to a peaceful future for the Middle East as a whole.

Asked if it turned out that the Syrians were responsible for the killing would that effect the strategy of drawing Syria further into the debate, the PMOS repeated what the Prime Minister had said this morning. Firstly, this was something which had to be investigated and the outcome of that investigation had to be waited for. Secondly, we want Syria to come part of the dialogue in the region but it had to make a strategic choice. Part of our judgment on Syria will be how it behaves in Lebanon as well as in the region as a whole. We need to await the result of the investigation into this particular incident before we can come to any conclusions.

Asked what Sir Nigel Sheinwald’s impression was after his visit as reports suggested that he had got a negative impression of the situation, the PMOS said that our approach to this is that the case is that Syria has to make a strategic choice, and we wait to see if Syria does. A development, such as recognising the democratically elected government of Iraq is to be welcomed but part of the judgement also looks at how Syria behaves in Lebanon.

Asked if this action could bring the shutters down on the current strategy, the PMOS said that the Lebanese government is democratically elected and therefore its sovereignty should be properly recognised, and this is one of the criteria behind our judgements on these matters. When the Prime Minister was in Beirut we met the Lebanese government and the Prime Minister, at the time, expressed our full support for it.

Asked if the Prime Minister fully supported John Bolton’s view that the UN inquiry into the killing of the Lebanese Prime Minister should be hastened, the PMOS said that we fully supported the UN in its inquiry. Asked if there was any intention by the Prime Minister to include Syria when he returned to the Middle East, the PMOS declined to speculate about the programme but said that matters would be judged over a prolonged period after Sir Nigel Sheinwald’s visit.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Search for related news

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Post a public comment

(You must give an email address, but it will not be displayed to the public.)
(You may give your website, and it will be displayed to the public.)


This is not a way of contacting the Prime Minister. If you would like to contact the Prime Minister, go to the 10 Downing Street official site.

Privacy note: Shortly after posting, your name and comment will be displayed on the site. This means that people searching for your name on the Internet will be able to find and read your comment.

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


November 2006
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Oct   Dec »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh