» Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Britain in the World

Asked why Iraq was number four in the list of achievements behind things like the Gleneagles Summit, Africa, poverty, Bosnia and Sierra Leone, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that it was not a question of putting achievements in a ranking order, just as it is not a foreign policy that says that you can take out one element and say that it is more important than another.  In the combination of hard power and soft power you have to respond to the reality of the world out there.  The reality of the world out there is that you do have to address the question of Africa and climate change, just as we did at Gleneagles and since just as you have to address the question of terrorism, as we are doing in Afghanistan and in Iraq.  They are different pressures, different demands but it does not mean that it is either or, or a ranking system.  It is simply that they are different elements of how you respond to an international situation.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Mongolian President

Asked what the Mongolian President and the Prime Minister discussed at their meeting today and if it was their first meeting, the PMOS said it thought it was their first meeting and they discussed regional issues.  Asked if they discussed Russia, the PMOS said that they discussed region issues therefore Russia would come into that.  Asked if there were any specific bilateral issues, the PMOS said that he was not aware of any specific bilateral issues but the regional picture was one that they discussed.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked if the Prime Minister would be voting tonight, the PMOS said we did not generally brief in advance.  Asked which way the Prime Minister would vote, the PMOS said the lobby were just being mischievous.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Troop Withdrawl

Following on from Muqtada al-Sadr's announcement that his followers should pull out of the Iraq government the PMOS was asked if the British Government were in touch with the Iraqi Prime Minister about the comments and if this changed our timescale for the withdrawal of troops, the PMOS said as it happened and by coincidence the Prime Minister was due to speak to Prime Minister Jawad al-Maliki today.  In terms of internal events in Iraq, that was a matter for Iraq, what we would say is that there is a democratically elected government and that government has our full support.  Asked if the Prime Minister was calling to talk about troops, the PMOS said that all he would say was that the Prime Minister answered the question in the same way that the PMOS had yesterday, no.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Shootings in US

Asked if the Prime Minister had been in contact with the American President, the PMOS said that as reporters knew they are in regular contact and they will be in contact at some point this week but we fully understand the shock and the horror that this has caused in America and we do not want to intrude on that.  At the same time the Prime Minister thought it right that he expressed his sympathy and the sympathy of this country.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Inflation and Interest Rates

Put to him that Tony Woodley had warned employers across the UK to expect pay claims this year in excess of 4.8 percent to reflect the rise in cost of living in Britain, did the Prime Minister think this was helpful, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister would point to the full content of the letter from the Bank of England which predicted confidently that inflation would go down and that is what people should draw reference to.  Put to him that the Bank of England is only saying that inflation will go down if interest rates go up, the PMOS said that it was not for him to interpret the words of the Bank of England but what the Prime Minister was also referring to was one of the reasons for the rise in inflation was the rise in energy prices and those are the way down, particularly household gas prices.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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