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UK PM's Briefing Extracts On Iraq

LOBBY BRIEFING: 11AM FRIDAY 8 MARCH 2002


IRAQ

Asked for a reaction to today's FT splash which claimed that a number of Cabinet Ministers could resign over the Government's policy on Iraq, the PMOS said it was news to him. Asked if that was denial, the PMOS said yes. There was an understanding that weapons of mass destruction posed a real threat and were a cause for concern. That threat was not going to go away on its own.

As the Prime Minister had said in his statement to Parliament on 13 September 2001, two days after the atrocities of September 11, this was an issue which we were going to have to address. How we did so was a matter for discussion and the international community was currently engaged in a continuing conversation about the issue. No decisions had been taken at this stage.

Questioned further about weapons of mass destruction, the PMOS said he did not think anyone would doubt the probability that the terrorists who had flown the planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre would have used weapons of mass destruction on September 11 had they had the capability to do so. The consequences of that would have been far more horrific than the many thousands murdered on the streets of New York on that day.


LOBBY BRIEFING: 3.30PM THURSDAY 7 MARCH 2002

IRAQ

The PMOS confirmed that there have been no transatlantic phone-calls on Iraq today, and no Cabinet decision in relation to Iraq.


ENDS

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