Asked what the Prime Minister thought about the images emerging from Syria over the past 24 hours, the PMS referred to the various statements the Foreign Secretary had made on Syria. The key response was that we utterly condemned any violence and killings perpetrated by Syrian security forces. The violent repression should stop - the Government needed to show restraint and respond to the legitimate demands of the people.
The PMS also pointed to what the Foreign Secretary had said about Syria being at a fork in the road, and that the Government could still choose to bring about the radical reform, which it alone could provide for the long term and we urged it to do so.
Put that the Foreign Secretary had also said at the beginning of his interview that it could be too late for the Syrian Government to change their position, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary had also said that he didn’t want to raise the expectation that we would cut off all contact, even with regimes that were doing the wrong thing. Diplomacy was about talking to people you disagree with, as well as spending time with those you agree with.
Asked if the Prime Minister had been speaking to any regional leaders about Syria, the PMS said that we were working with our international partners. As and when the Prime Minister spoke to leaders we would brief people in the usual way.
The PMS added that the Foreign Secretary had made clear in interviews that lines of communication with President Assad of Syria were still open.
Asked if those particular lines of communication gave the Government confidence that the Syrian Government would stop the violence, the PMS said that we were urging them to do the right thing, and it was not too late for them to do so.
Asked if the Prime Minister would use the opportunity to speak to leaders at the margins of the Royal Wedding about Syria, the PMS said that the Prime Minister was meeting with the Australian Prime Minister and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on Thursday. If there were any other significant conversations we would brief them out.
Put that there had been calls for President Assad to face criminal charges, the PMS said that international discussions about a diplomatic response were at a preliminary stage. We would continue to urge the Syrian Government to show restraint.
Asked for a comment on the growth figures, the PMS said that the Chancellor had responded to the growth figures this morning and the Prime Minister echoed his words.
Asked if the Prime Minister was going to say anything about the Royal Wedding at PMQs, the PMS said that people should wait for PMQs.