Asked if any requests had been made to help Japan following the Prime Minister’s offer of support to the country, the PMS referred to the Prime Minister’s earlier comments offering sympathy, condolences and help to Japan. The PMS also summarised the Foreign Secretary’s statement on the same issue, including his offer of help to the Japanese ambassador, and his confirmation that the Foreign Office had set up a crisis centre and a helpline.
Asked whether the earthquake in Japan was expected to impact other parts of the Pacific, the PMS confirmed that this was the case and that the Foreign Secretary had said that Rapid Deployment Teams were ready to travel to areas of most need.
Asked for a read out of the Prime Minister’s most recent comments on Libya, the PMS promised to send around the exact words, and paraphrased the comments saying there was a need for European ambition and political will and that Gaddafi must go. The PMS said that there was a need to deal with long term issues in the region and for the people of the region to seize the opportunity to promote change.
Asked for confirmation of President Sarkozy’s comments that Britain was now backing his plan on targeted strikes in Libya, the PMS didn’t confirm the comments and said that they were speculation. The PMS said that contingency planning was ongoing and we were looking at all options.
Responding to a follow up question on whether we were backing airstrikes, the PMS said that we were taking things one step at a time and we were looking at all options. Contingency planning was ongoing, including no fly zone.