» Thursday, July 20, 2006

Middle East

Asked if we thought that the attacks on Hezbollah had backfired and did our opinions differ from those of the US on how much time Israel should be given, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman replied that as he had said yesterday, he was not going to give a running commentary on what Israel did or did not do. Our task was to try and put together a process that would bring about peace, and not just a quick-fix unilateral peace, but rather, a sustainable one. That was the process that we started at the G8, and it was the process that would go further forward tonight and tomorrow at the UN. It was also the process that would go further forward again when Dr. Rice visits the region. The PMOS said that that was where we kept our eyes focussed on, rather than giving a commentary on what others did.

Asked if that included the French, and why didn’t we support their efforts at the UN, the PMOS replied again that he was not going to comment on what others did at the UN. The French were not only passive supporters, but rather, active supporters of the G8 statement, which included the plans for a stabilisation force, and demands that Hezbollah released the kidnapped soldiers and end the rocket attacks, as well as actions from Israel. In terms of the position of countries, the G8 statement was the best possible guide.

Put that didn’t we think there should be a humanitarian solution with regards to the civilians, rather than a policy of cohesion of civilian deaths, the PMOS said that if the journalist wanted to give a statement, then he could.

Put that he was asking a question, the PMOS replied that it appeared to be more of a statement that a question. However, as he the PMOS had said yesterday, if people were asking for a unilateral ceasefire, then they should say so. As Margaret Beckett asked at Cabinet today, what people were really saying was that they wanted a ceasefire with rockets still going into Israel. The PMOS outlined where the problem originated from, which was the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, and rockets being fired into Israel by Hezbollah from Lebanon. Unless a solution which addressed those issues was produced, then there would be not be peace. Instead, there would be a unilateral peace, and people could make their own assessment of the chances of that surviving.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. He’s not going to get into a running commentary on what Israel does or doesn’t do, he says, whilst not hesitating to give a running commentary on what those evil Lebanese/Iranians ("please, can we BOMB them yet?!") are doing. Not that there’s any pro-Israel leanings in the BRITISH Government!!! WTF?!?!

    Comment by SmokeNMirrors — 20 Jul 2006 on 9:43 pm | Link

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