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No. 10 Morning Press Briefing From 23 June 2008

Briefing from the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia trip, EU Lisbon Treaty and miscellaneous

Morning press briefing from 23 June 2008


Asked for the Prime Minister's response to Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to withdraw from the presidential elections in Zimbabwe, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister was sure to say something on Zimbabwe during the course of today, not least since it was raised at the European Council meeting last Thursday. The Foreign Secretary had set out the Government's general position yesterday and there was not much to add to that at this point.

Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that Morgan Tsvangirai had decided to pull out, the PMS replied that what the Prime Minister was disappointed about was the scale of intimidation and violence in Zimbabwe, which had limited Morgan Tsvangirai's ability to campaign.

Saudi Arabia Trip

Asked how successful the Prime Minister thought his trip to Saudi Arabia had been, the PMS said that we had been explicit throughout that this was not about any short-term fixes; all sorts of things would affect the price of oil, not least what had happened in Nigeria over the weekend. The Prime Minister thought that it had been a good meeting in Jeddah yesterday; this was the start of a process, not the end of a process and there would be a follow-up meeting in London later this year. This was about getting a much deeper dialogue between the oil producing and consumer nations, as the Prime Minister had consistently been saying.

Asked about the follow-up meeting in London, the PMS replied that there would be plenty of opportunity in the weeks and months ahead to say more about the follow-up meeting.

Asked when the meeting would be, the PMS said that it would be in the Autumn.

Asked if the meeting would just involve European leaders, the PMS said no; the whole point of the follow-up meeting was that it was a follow-up meeting to the one in Jeddah, so it would involve both the producer and consumer countries.

EU Lisbon Treaty

Asked if the Government was prepared to wait for Stuart Wheeler's possible appeal process to conclude before going forward with the Treaty, the PMS said that the key commitment we had made was that this Bill had now passed through both Houses of Parliament and Parliament had expressed its views on this matter very clearly. In relation to ratification, there were all sorts of procedures that needed to be gone through, involving the Great Wafer Seal, and it always took several weeks for these procedures to be completed. In relation to the Wheeler case, the judge himself had said that he was expected to give his response this week and we should wait for that.


Asked if the Prime Minister had any plans to celebrate his first year in office, the PMS said that it was very much business as usual this week.

Put that the BBC had suggested this morning that Alistair Darling's days as the Chancellor were numbered, the PMS said that that report was complete nonsense.

Asked about the Prime Minister's answer to a quick fire question regarding Indiana Jones or James Bond in an interview with Total Politics magazine, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had been asked a direct question and had given a direct answer.


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