» Tuesday, November 21, 2006

President of Kazakhstan

Asked for further information on the Prime Minister's meeting with President Nazarbayev, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the UK's was the third largest investor in Kazakhstan - almost £3 billion since its independence. They were a key strategic player in terms of energy supply, and in 2005, we signed a bilateral agreement on energy, and we hoped to develop even further co-operation in this field in the future. In Iraq, President Nazarbayev had supported their allied efforts, and had contributed to the multinational force.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Lebanese Minister

Asked what the Prime Minister's reaction was to the assassination of the Lebanese Minister, Pierre Gemayel, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister has spoken about it with the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, and he had said that it was totally without justification and totally to be condemned, that we must do everything we can to support the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and do everything we can to move forward to a peaceful future for the Middle East as a whole.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Northern Ireland

Asked if the Northern Ireland Secretary enjoyed full support and confidence from the Prime Minister, and also, was the Prime Minister consulted on the appointment of Bertha McDougall, the PMOS replied that Peter Hain did have the Prime Minister's full support and confidence, and the Secretary of State had said that he would co-operate fully with the investigation. With regards to Bertha McDougall, the PMOS said that he did not comment on internal discussions within Government.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Greek Prime Minister

Asked what was discussed between the Greek Prime Minister and the Prime Minister, the PMOS said that primarily talks were on European issues, and the EU Summit in December.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

British Airways and Religious Symbols

Asked if the Prime Minister had any thoughts on the decision by British Airways not to allow an employee wear a crucifix, the PMOS said that it was a matter for British Airways.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Middle East Trip

Put that the Prime Minister had talked about another trip to the Middle East before Christmas, and was that still a possibility, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister's intentions were still very clear, and they were still as he had outlined them. What was important was that if people went back to the LA speech, to what he had said to the James Baker committee, and to what he had said repeatedly in recent speeches or interviews, the Prime Minister clearly placed the Middle East at the core of addressing many of the issues that we faced today. The Prime Minister's determination to do so remained undiminished, and his actions would be in pursuit of that.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Muslim Youth

Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with John Reid that British foreign policy was a factor in the radicalisation Muslim youth, the PMOS replied that what the Prime Minister had said many times was that whether the issue was Iraq, as people now did, or Afghanistan post 9/11, foreign policy issues to try to justify their actions. The root causes of this, however, went much deeper than this country's foreign policy. The root causes went to the kind of extremist view of Islam which was causing problems not just in this country or the rest of Europe, but also we saw, in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia. People only had to go to the memorial for the victims of the Bali bombs at the corner of Treasury Green. Again, people should recognise that this was multi-faceted, and it was not limited to this country, and if people listened to what President Musharraf and President Karzai had both said, it was strongly in line with what the Prime Minister had said on many occasions.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked if the Prime Minsiter was worried or had a reaction to the reports that the costs for the Olympics was rocketing, the PMOS said that the important thing was to recognise that it had always been said that a major part of this was in terms of securing the legacy for the area. He went on to say that it should be recognised that by pushing down on costs £300 million had been saved. There is the legacy issue and this was identified before the bid was submitted. The important thing is that these costs and been identified and Tessa Jowell had said at Cabinet several weeks ago that we recognised that we, at this stage, as the International Olympic Committee has recognised, were substantially ahead of similar cities and bids in the past in getting ready for the games. Progress is being made and it is a continued review of all costs involved, in addition to acknowledging that there are elements outside of our control such as the rising costs of steel. Asked if the Prime Minister had principles in mind on who should bear the brunt of any extra costs, such as taxpayers in London, the PMOS said rather than speculating it would be best for the Department for Culture Media and Sport to deal with.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Alexander Litvinenko

Asked if the Prime Minister had had any contact with the Russians following reports that Mr. Litvinenko had been poisoned with radioactive thallium, the PMOS said as there was a police investigation going on it would be not wise for him to comment at this stage. Asked if the PMOS thought it was an organised attempt by a foreign government to influence Mr. Litvinenko's work, the PMOS again repeated it was a matter for the police. Asked if we were waiting for the police investigation into the matter to end before commenting on the issue, PMOS said before anyone would make contact the results of the investigation had to be known. Asked if the Russian government, or the Russian ambassador here, had been in touch to assure the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary that the alleged poisoning was nothing to do with them, the PMOS said that he was not aware of any contact but the best place to ask would be the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Police Inquiry

Asked if, other than Borat, if anything else such as energy cooperation, had been discussed at the meeting with the President of Kazakhstan, the PMOS said there was a bilateral agreement from 2005 on energy cooperation with Kazakhstan and we recognised Kazakhstan's increasing importance on this subject. The press conference, for those who turned up only to talk about Borat, had been an education in Kazakhstan's increasing importance across a range of issues and we have recognised that for some time. Kazakhstan is, both because of its strategic position in the world, and because of its energy resources, an increasingly important country.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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