Press briefing: morning 14 March 2014
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Ukraine, Syria, tax and Scotland.
Asked about the talks on Ukraine between the Prime Minister and John Kerry, the PMS said that discussions centred on the need for the international community to respond if dialogue between Russian and Ukrainian government is not established and in the event that the Russian government seeks to legitimise the referendum on Crimea. The importance of collaboration between US, EU and G7 in response to the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty was underlined. The European Council was in agreement that further infringement on Ukraine sovereignty would lead to broader trade and economic sanctions.
Asked about travel bans and asset freezing, the PMS said that preparatory work was underway and was being discussed by senior officials in London and in the EU. The European Council had agreed that there was an urgent need to establish dialogue between Ukraine and the Russian government to de-escalate the situation. The meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers on Monday and the one between Russian Foreign Minster Lavrov and John Kerry were important opportunities for this to be taken forward.
Asked about talks on Syria between the Prime Minister and John Kerry, the PMS said discussions centred on continuing to work closely on the removal of chemical weapons and support for a political transition, which included support for moderate political elements, through the Syrian National Council. On chemical weapons, the Russian government’s commitment to the timetable for their removal was significant.
40 pence tax
Asked about 40 pence tax, the PMS reiterated the Prime Minister’s position on tax policy.
Asked about whether on his trip to Scotland the Prime Minister would ask the Scottish government to repay the money paid for the Health Service Award, the PMS said that it was for the First Minister to explain why he was not making savings that can be re-invested in front line services.