» Wednesday, November 28, 2007


On the charging of British teacher Gillian Gibbons in Sudan, the PMS said that the Government was surprised and disappointed by this development and the Foreign Secretary would summon as a matter of urgency the Sudanese Ambassador to discuss the matter further.

Asked whether he thought the Sudanese Government was letting the Government’s sanctions on Darfur influence them, the PMS said that there wasn’t any reason to suggest that that might be the case. The Sudanese Government would have to be taken at their word. It was a judicial matter relating to this individual, but the Government was surprised and disappointed and the Foreign Secretary would be summoning the Sudanese Ambassador.

Put that the Government’s comments were rudderless and could a stronger sense of how the Prime Minister felt about the matter be given, the PMS replied that the news had only been received in the last half an hour. The PMS reiterated that the Government was disappointed and the first step was to summon the Sudanese Ambassador, in order to get a clear explanation for the rationale behind the charges and a sense of what the next steps might be. The Government would consider its response in the light of that. Asked what the response might be, the PMS advised that we had to wait until an official explanation had been given by the Sudanese Government and then the Government would consider what further steps might be necessary.

Asked whether there were any circumstances by which the Government would allow the woman in question to be whipped in public, the PMS repeated that the first thing to do was to establish what the rationale for the arrest was. Once the Foreign Secretary had met the Sudanese Ambassador, the Government would consider what further steps or representations might be necessary.

Put that the Government’s response both yesterday and today had been very measured and was there a fear of provoking the Sudanese Government, the PMS said the Government would hear the explanation and get a better sense officially of what the next steps were from the Sudanese Government. The Government would then consider what further action or steps it might need to take.

Asked if this would be an issue at the EU/Africa summit, the PMS advised people to wait and see what the situation was at the time of the summit.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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