» Monday, October 2, 2006

Northern Ireland/IMC Report

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report would be a very significant report in that we hoped that it would provide a definitive answer to the question of whether the IRA campaign in all its forms was finally over, and on whether Sinn Fein, in word or deed, was living up to the commitments it had made to pursue its aims by solely political means. That would be a very important report, given the history of Northern Ireland, the island of Ireland and relations between Britain and Ireland. People would see the significance of the report.

Asked if the Prime Minister would receive an advanced copy of the IMC report, the PMOS replied that it was the two Governments who published the IMC report, so the normal processes would be observed.

Asked if the Prime Minister already knew what was in the report, the PMOS repeated that the normal processes would be observed.

Asked if it was no coincidence that the report was being published a few days before the Scottish meeting, the PMOS said that this report would have profound implications in its own right. Equally, it would help share the context for the intense talks we were having next week in Scotland. As people knew, if they went back several years, the Prime Minister had set out in the Harbour Commissioner’s speech, and the two Governments had set out the Joint Declaration in Paragraph 13 precisely what it was the IRA had to do in terms of stopping its activities. We hoped this report would provide the definitive answer to those questions.

Put that therefore, we must know what was in the report, the PMOS replied that the IMC wrote their own report, and they would finalise their report.

Asked if on Wednesday, journalists could write headlines that it was all over in Northern Ireland, the PMOS said that that depended on what the IMC said. What people had been looking for was a report that said clearly, without caveats, the conditions laid out by the two Governments in the Joint Declaration and as laid out by the Prime Minister in his Harbour Commissioner’s speech had been met. There were still issues such as policing, on which we needed to see more progress, but the basic conditions were that the IRA campaign in all its forms, including criminality had to stop. Those were the basic conditions on which the IMC would report on.

Briefing took place at 14:00 | Search for related news

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