Press release

Press briefing: morning 15 September 2014

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesperson (PMOS) answered questions on ISIL and Scotland.

ISIL

When asked about this morning’s summit in Paris to discuss the threat of ISIL, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson (PMOS) said the Prime Minister was being constantly updated on the ongoing process of diplomatic engagement to best support those on the ground fighting ISIL, rather than ‘intervening over their heads’, as the Prime Minister has set out. The PMOS also said people should see a deepening of the international community’s shared approach in tackling ISIL in the coming days, especially in the Middle East. A more inclusive Iraqi government in Baghdad is particularly important in combatting ISIL, the PMOS stressed.

When asked about Turkey’s role in tackling the threat of ISIL, the PMOS said Turkey was an important partner of the United Kingdom, whether through helping to deliver humanitarian aid across the Syrian border, or by stopping and monitoring foreign fighters returning to Europe to do people harm. With regard to the support provided to the families of hostage victims by the British government, the PMOS said it would continue to provide assistance to the families.

When asked about the forthcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the PMOS said the process of diplomatic engagement would take time, highlighting that the diplomatic imperative for international cohesion remains.

On the question of military action against ISIL targets in Syria, the PMOS reiterated the Prime Minister’s previous comments as regards the legitimacy of the Assad regime. When asked about the UK’s engagement with Iran in relation to ISIL, the PMOS said the government was in the process of stepping up diplomatic relations with a view to a fully staffed and operational embassy in Tehran. The PMOS added that the Prime Minister has in the past spoken to his Iranian counterpart, and will pursue the most effective diplomacy in the region.

Scotland

When asked if the government has any contingency plans for a Yes vote in the independence referendum, the PMOS said the government has no plans.