» Friday, May 21, 2004


Asked if a decision had been made on troop deployments to Iraq in the light of the report in today's Daily Mirror, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said no. The position had not changed. As we had been saying for some time, discussions were continuing with our Coalition allies, but no decisions had been taken at this stage. Nor were we expecting an announcement in the near future. She pointed out that today's Daily Mirror story was a mystery. How could you reverse a decision when a decision had not been taken? Asked when an announcement would be made, the PMS said she didn't have a precise date. Discussions were still ongoing. A number of factors obviously needed to be considered. People were looking at the relevant issues and would make a decision when it was appropriate to do so, obviously taking into account the conditions on the ground. Put to her that the conflicting briefings being given to newspapers would seem to indicate deep confusion and disagreement behind the scenes, the PMS said that those supposedly briefing the media were being quoted as 'unnamed sources'. She couldn't be held accountable for them. As the Prime Minister's Spokesman she could say definitively that no decision about troop deployments had been taken at this stage. Put to her that the contradictory briefings would appear to indicate there was conflict within the decision-making system, the PMS said that there had been no conflicting briefings coming out of the Prime Minister's Office. Challenged that her colleague had suggested on Monday that troops would be deployed and that she appeared to be rowing back from that today, the PMS said that stating that a decision had not been taken at this stage was not an indication that the situation had changed in any way.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (14)


Asked if the Prime Minister supported Pakistan's bid to rejoin the Commonwealth, the PMS said that a decision would be taken by all the members of the Commonwealth. She said later that the Government believed that Pakistan had fulfilled the conditions set by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to rejoin the Commonwealth, but the decision would be taken by the CMAG.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (8)

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