» Thursday, December 14, 2006

Foreign Affairs debate/Iraq

Asked if there would be a substantive motion, the Leader said that it would be on a motion for the Adjournment of the House, which was the usual – but not exclusive – basis for foreign policy debates. Mr Straw said that, as he had explained to the House, the debate would be on foreign policy, focusing – but not exclusively – on Iraq, since there could be other developments before than. Questioned whether there should not be a vote on the impact of the Iraq Study Group report, Mr Straw said that it was an important study. However, the ISG had not been established by President Bush but by two NGOs – foreign policy trusts. It was in no sense a Congressional inquiry or an inquiry by the US executive.

The Leader said that, secondly, his own view was that a great deal of both the analysis and proposals for the future contained in the ISG report fitted in very well with the approach which the UK Government had been pursuing. Thirdly, it was an agenda for discussion. The ISG was not suggesting there should be a yes or no vote on it. It was a very important agenda on which there was a certain amount of controversy also within the Iraqi government. He was asked if he accepted that there were differences between London and Washington on whether a settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue was central to reducing the conflict in Iraq. Mr Straw acknowledged that the issue of centrality was the position of the UK Government, but he could not comment about the US position. Views varied around the US Administration and it was also a more difficult issue for it to handle, he added.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

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