» Monday, November 22, 2004

Northern Ireland talks

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the Prime Minister would be meeting the Taoiseach for talks in Downing Street on Wednesday in relation to Northern Ireland peace talks. We would not be providing a running commentary during the week, but equally nobody should underestimate how important a week this was and nobody should mistake our silence for lack of activity. Quite the reverse. Asked if it was fair to assume that because the Prime Minister and Taoiseach were meeting that they had now at least between them met all the major parties involved in the talks the PMOS said that we had been in very intensive talks with all the major players and that we would continue to do so. There was an awful lot of activity going on behind the scenes and sometimes our silence was in inverse proportions to how important and significant matters were, as may be the case here.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked where we were up to in relation to Iran the PMOS said that clearly the important thing was that on the one hand that Iran was showing signs of compliance but equally important was that it actually did so and implemented what it was voicing. Therefore we looked forward to The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reporting to the Board of Governor's meeting and that Iran's voluntary suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing activities was in place. The important thing was for Iran to implement what they said they were going to do. Asked why it was important for this to be kept out of the Security Council and why we had talked about compliance and the Americans had talked differently the PMOS said that we were all saying the same thing which was that what was important was what was actually implemented and that was what would determine where we were in the process. President Bush himself had paid tribute, when we were in Washington, to the work of the E3, including ourselves, in trying to resolve this through diplomatic means. Asked if we thought the IAEA would be able to get to the bottom of this or whether there was a suspicion that Iran were very good at this the PMOS said that the IAEA would come to a considered assessment and judgement and that we would listen to that assessment and judgement. The PMOS said he would also highlight the high level of activity undertaken by the E3, which we had participated in, in trying to resolve this matter through diplomatic means. As the Prime Minister had said he was not aware of any conversation where any military action had been discussed. What had to be clear was that it did have to be resolved and that meant Iran had to implement what it was saying.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Queen’s Speech

Asked why some of the items previously indicated by David Blunkett for the Queen's speech were being held back, such as phone tapping and trials without jury for terrorists the PMOS said that David Blunkett had explained the reasons for that yesterday. They were complex matters and they would be addressed in a timescale that was appropriate for such serious matters. In response to the suggestion that these sorts of things were usually put into a draft bill so they were included in the Queen's speech and scrutinised in the appropriate way the PMOS reiterated that they were complex matters and that anybody who had looked at these matters over the years knew how complicated they were. Therefore in terms of timescale it was better that they were dealt with in the appropriate way and came forward when ready.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what our policy was in regard to the presence of British troops as part of the coalition beyond December 2005 the PMOS suggested people should look at what General Sir Mike Jackson had actually said and not the interpretation put on it. He had said:

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Thales Contract

Asked if the Prime Minister or anyone else had expressed opposition to Paris about the Thales bid the PMOS said as he had last week that this was a commercial matter of which the French Government would keep us informed. It obviously had defence implications and Thales was an important company in this country but the focus of activity was primarily focused in France and that was where we should leave it. Therefore he was not going to get into a detailed commentary of what was a commercial matter.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Commissioner Mandelson

Asked if the Prime Minister welcomed Peter Mandelson's comments that he would like the Treasury to play a constructive role the PMOS said that that could be regarded as a somewhat tendentious summary of what Commissioner Mandelson had said. That said he was Commissioner Mandelson now and as such the PMOS did not brief on his behalf. As he had said last week we had all argued the case for economic reform in Europe and we continued to do so.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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