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 Home > News & Policies > November 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 14, 2006

Comparing the Coverage: London Vs. Washington Reporting on Prime Minister Blair's Remarks

     Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

"There is a fundamental misunderstanding that this is about changing policy on Syria and Iran."

- Prime Minister Tony Blair, World Affairs Speech, 11/13/06

Dateline: London

London-Based Reporting On Prime Minister Tony Blair's Remarks Shows That Prime Minister Blair "Offered No Dramatic New Policy Proposals."

  • The Washington Post: Prime Minister Blair "Offered No Dramatic New Policy Proposals." "Blair, who has been President Bush's chief foreign ally in the Iraq war, offered no dramatic new policy proposals on Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he called the region's 'core' issue." (Kevin Sullivan, "Blair Calls For 'Whole Middle East' Strategy, Pressure On Iran," The Washington Post, 11/14/06)

  • The New York Times: Prime Minister Blair "Took Pains ... To Avoid Giving The Impression That He Was Making Major Policy Changes." "Iran has a choice, Mr. Blair said, of partnership or isolation. But he took pains, in his annual foreign policy speech, to avoid giving the impression that he was making major policy changes in response to uncertainties surrounding the Bush administration after the American elections last week. He also laced his speech with criticism of Iran, accusing it of 'using pressure points in the region' to thwart Western diplomacy." (Alan Cowell, "Blair Urges Strategy Change In Mideast, Spotlighting Iran," The New York Times,11/14/06)

Dateline: Washington

Washington-Based Reporting Claims Prime Minister Blair Shifted His Position.

  • The Washington Post: "President Bush came under new pressure yesterday at home and abroad to alter his policies in the Middle East. British Prime Minister Tony Blair pushed for a broader Arab-Israeli peace initiative to help stabilize Iraq, while the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee pledged to take a hard line on seeking early troop withdrawals." (Michael Abramowitz and Thomas E. Ricks, "Bush Faces New Calls To Shift Policies On Mideast," The Washington Post, 11/14/06)

  • The New York Times: "President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel kept up their tough talk on Iran on Monday, warning it once again to drop its nuclear ambitions, even as Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain suggested that Tehran could take a role in stabilizing Iraq under 'a new partnership.'" (Jim Rutenberg, "Bush And Israeli Prime Minister Maintain Tough Front On Iran," The New York Times, 11/14/06)

Prime Minister Blair's Policy Is Not New And Is Similar To President Bush's Policy

Yesterday, Prime Minister Blair Repeated His Previous Call For Talks With Iran If The Iranians "Abide By, Not Flout, Their International Obligations." "But we all want Iran to suspend its enrichment process which if allowed to continue, will give them a nuclear weapon. Under the agreement we brokered in June, the US has said they will talk to Iran direct for the first time in 30 years, if they abide by the UN demand to suspend enrichment. But Iran is refusing to do it. Instead they are using the pressure points in the region to thwart us. So they help the most extreme elements of Hamas in Palestine; Hizbollah in the Lebanon; Shia militia in Iraq. That way, they put obstacles in the path to peace, paint us, as they did over the Israel/Lebanon conflict, as the aggressors, inflame the Arab street and create political turmoil in our democratic politics. It is a perfectly straightforward and clear strategy. It will only be defeated by an equally clear one: to relieve these pressure points one by one and then, from a position of strength to talk, in a way I described in July in my speech in Los Angeles: offer Iran a clear strategic choice: they help the MEPP not hinder it; they stop supporting terrorism in Lebanon or Iraq; and they abide by, not flout, their international obligations. In that case, a new partnership is possible. Or alternatively they face the consequences of not doing so: isolation." (Prime Minister Blair, World Affairs Speech To The Lord Mayor's Banquet, London, England, 11/13/06)

  • Yesterday, President Bush Also Repeated His Previous Call For Dialogue With Iran If The Iranians "Verifiably Suspend Their Enrichment Activities." "If the Iranians want to have a dialogue with us, we have shown them a way forward, and that is for them to ... verifiably suspend their enrichment activities. We put that proposal on the table awhile back. We said that if you want to have a dialogue with us, we're willing to come to the table with the EU, as well as Russia and China, to discuss a way forward. ... I think it's very important for the world to unite with one common voice to say to the Iranians that, if you choose to continue forward, you'll be isolated. And one source of isolation would be economic isolation." (President Bush, Remarks After Meeting With Prime Minister Olmert Of Israel, Washington, DC, 11/13/06)

Full Text Of Prime Minister Blair's Remarks

The Full Text Of Prime Minister Blair's Remarks Is Available At:

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