» Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Brussels Brief

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman briefed journalists from Brussels via a phone link-up. He said that the Prime Minister had met President Bush this morning. He said that we had been very encouraged by what the President had said yesterday about the Middle East Peace Process, both as an indication of the seriousness of his intent in terms of trying to push forward the process, but also in terms of how he characterised that attempt, and what we thought was necessary. The other issue that had been discussed had been Iraq. The PMOS said he would go through what he thought would be included in the two sessions later today.

By the end of today, we would see that all NATO members would be contributing in some way to the process of Iraqiisation. That process involved training Iraqi forces, and giving them the skills they needed, both in terms of quality and quantity. By the end of the EU meeting, there would also be a willingness shown, if the new Iraqi Government wished, for n EU/US conference which would try to coordinate international effort to support the new Iraqi Government. This would help in the process of reconstruction of the country, by building up both administration and the judiciary structure. It would also help in the very important process of "outreach" reconciliation within Iraq itself. All those would show that whatever differences there may have been on the war, there was now a new willingness following the Iraqi elections to help the new Iraqi Government. A line had been drawn under the differences of the past, and there was now a common consensus on supporting the new Iraqi Government.

The PMOS said that at the Ukraine/NATO session earlier in the morning, the Prime Minister had emphasised the fund of goodwill that existed towards Ukraine following recent events and the election of the President. The Prime Minister said that President Yuschenko was a "remarkable man" and that the courage of the Ukrainian people in standing up for democracy was equally remarkable. The Prime Minister recognised, as the President would do too, that there would still be difficult times for Ukraine, but he pledged the support of those around the table for helping the Ukrainians as they moved forward.

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

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