» Monday, February 21, 2005

President Bush Breakfast Meeting/Brussels trip

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) informed journalists about the Prime Minister’s breakfast meeting tomorrow morning in Brussels with President Bush. We also expected him to hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, Prime Minister Martin of Canada and also President Yuschenko of Ukraine (where they would meet for the first time).

Asked if the Prime Minister would be speaking to President Bush about African issues, the PMOS said that Africa would be one of the subjects discussed, as would our other G8, priority, climate change matters. Israel and Palestine would also be discussed, where we were seeing real progress being made. Iraq matters were on the agenda, as were issues relating to Europe.

Asked to remind journalists why President Bush was not coming to London, the PMOS said the journalist was behind the time. As he had briefed journalists on the plane on the return from the White House, we had not anticipated the President coming to London. This was a visit to Europe, to the EU and to NATO, and this was how we had always envisaged the visit. We were delighted that the President was making the time to have breakfast with the Prime Minister tomorrow. The PMOS reminded journalists that they did talk almost weekly on the video conference.

Asked about the possibility of use of force against Iran, the PMOS pointed out what President Bush had said on German television yesterday. The PMOS quoted "I hear all these rumours about military attacks; it’s just not the truth. We want diplomacy to work, and I believe diplomacy can work so long as the Iranians don’t divide Europe and the United States, and the common goal is for them not to have a nuclear weapon". The PMOS added "hear, hear".

Asked if there was a reason for not ruling out the use of force, the PMOS said the priority was to ensure that diplomacy worked. Therefore, the priority was that we in Europe, alongside the United States sent a very clear signal about the importance of Iran complying with the IAEA. That message was clear and unambiguous.

Asked what would happen in the NATO meeting, the PMOS replied that the meeting would concentrate largely on Iraq, especially on the issue of training. What was important was that now the elections had happened, we drew a line about disagreements about the past. There was a legitimately elected government in Iraq which obviously needed help, and the important thing was that we all united to provide help that the people of Iraq who had elected the Government to deliver.

Asked to clarify the training, the PMOS said it would be help with police, security and army training. NATO was already involved in that role, but it was being developed further.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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