Speech: Press conference: Prime Minister at end of G8 Summit

Ministry of Defence said:
Good afternoon and welcome everybody. We set a very clear agenda for this summit: tax, trade and transparency. I believe we made real progress on all three of these. We launched negotiations on the biggest bilateral trade deal in history. We agreed a Lough Erne declaration that has the potential to rewrite the rules on tax and transparency for the benefit of countries right across the world, including the poorest countries of the world.
And we have commissioned a new international mechanism that will identify where multinational companies are earning their profits and paying their taxes, so we can track and expose those who aren’t paying their fair share. This international tax tool is going to be a real feature of ensuring we get proper tax payment and proper tax justice in our world.
Alongside this, we have agreed new ways of stepping up the fight against terrorism and extremism, including more support for the government and people of Libya. And we have signed a declaration to end the payment of ransoms for kidnap by terrorists.
The conflict in Syria was the most difficult issue of all. The first priority must be to help those who are caught up in the conflict, and we have agreed almost $1.5 billion of new humanitarian support to help those who have been displaced by the conflict and who are suffering. We also overcame fundamental differences on a way forward in working together to help the Syrian people to achieve the change that they want.
I know some people wonder whether these summits really achieve anything. I believe Lough Erne has delivered on all of these issues, and I want to take each one in turn. We started with the issue that matters most to people: jobs, growth, mending our broken economies. We agreed a strategy for growth, a strategy for Britain’s hardworking families. This must be based on dealing with our debts, unlocking the finance that businesses and families need, and increasing our competitiveness so that young people can get into work and succeed in the global race.
We started the summit by launching negotiations on an EU/US trade deal that could have a greater impact than all the other bilateral trade deals that are on the table. And these deals, they may sound arcane, but it’s about jobs, it’s about low prices in our shops.
This G8 also launched a bold new pro-business agenda to get to grips with the problems of tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance and corporate secrecy. Let’s be clear: if you want a low-tax economy, which I believe is fundamental to growth; you have to collect the taxes that are owed. That is only fair for companies and for people who play by the rules, and it’s vital for developing economies too.
The Lough Erne declaration that we have signed sets out some simple and clear commitments. Tax authorities across the world should automatically share information so those who want to evade taxes have nowhere to hide. Companies should know who really owns them, and tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily – for example, through central registries – so people can’t avoid taxes by using complicated and fake structures.
And in a world where business has moved from the offline and the national to the online and the international, but the tax system hasn’t caught up, we’re commissioning the OECD to develop a new mechanism that would expose discrepancies between where multinationals earn their profits and where they pay their taxes. The declaration all makes clear that all this action has to help developing countries too, by sharing tax information and building their capability to collect taxes.
Finally, on transparency, we agreed that oil, gas and mining companies should report what they pay to governments, and that governments should publish what they receive, so that natural resources are a blessing and not a curse. And we agreed an open data charter, so people can get hold of clear, easy-to-use information about how their taxes are spent.
The world wanted action on hunger. We delivered real pledges last week at our Nutrition and Hunger summit. This week, we have looked not only at the problem of hunger, but also the causes, in terms of land, in terms of taxes, in terms of transparency. I’m really proud of the action that we have taken here at Lough Erne.
Since last year’s summit at Camp David, every G8 country has been directly affected by acts of terrorism, either at home or overseas. Our approach must be tough, patient and intelligent, confronting the terrorists, defeating the poisonous ideology that sustains them, and tackling the weak and failing states in which they thrive.
Again, these have not just been words in a communiqué, but concrete actions. I’m proud of the role that Britain played in getting rid of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. But we need to help that country secure its future. So some G8 countries today have offered to train more than 7,000 troops to help Prime Minister Zidan disarm and integrate the militias and take the fight to the extremists. More contributions will follow from others. The Libyan government will pay for this; there will be no cost to the UK taxpayer.
And the whole G8 has today reached a groundbreaking agreement on ransom payments. In the last three years alone, these ransom payments have given Al Qaeda and its allies and franchises tens of millions of dollars. These payments have to stop, and today we’ve agreed that they will.
On Syria – it is no secret that there were very different views around the G8 table. But we all share a vital interest in bringing this conflict to an end and helping the Syrian people to achieve the change they want. So we agreed to work together on seven things.
One: to step up our response to the humanitarian crisis with almost $1.5 billion of new money, including more than doubling the UK contribution. This is new money, new commitments made here at the G8.
Two: to maximise the diplomatic pressure to bring all sides to the table as soon as possible.
Three: to back a Geneva two process that delivers a transitional governing body for Syria with full executive authority. Again, that was something slipping away over the last few weeks, but brought back onto the table and agreed right here at the G8.
Four: to learn the lessons of Iraq by making sure the key institutions of the state are maintained through the transition and there is no vacuum. To those who have been loyal to Assad, but who know he has to go and who want stability in their country, they should take note of this point.
Five: to work together to rid Syria of terrorists and extremists. Again, this is a new commitment by the G8 here at Lough Erne.
Six: to condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, and crucially, to enable an unhindered UN investigation to establish the facts. This pledge was not expected here at the G8; we discussed it last night, we agreed it last night, and have written it down and agreed it today.
Seven: to support a future Syrian government that is neither Sunni, Alawi nor Shia but which has the consent of all Syrians.
Reaching this agreement was not easy. It was made possible only by the frank, open, leader-to-leader discussion that was a key feature of this G8. Every leader around that table knows that words alone won’t stop the suffering. The task now is to turn that into real action.
Twenty-five years ago, when a terrible bomb attack killed 11 people just a few miles down the road from here, a G8 in Country Fermanagh would have been unimaginable. Today, the world has seen a new Northern Ireland that is not only beautiful, as you can see from the wonderful scene behind me, but a Northern Ireland that is open for business, a Northern Ireland that is bringing down the peace walls that have separated its people for so long, a Northern Ireland determined to be defined by a shared future, not by a divided past.
It is a transformation that I believe can be an inspiration to the world. I think all of the G8 leaders who came here commented on how remarkable it was to hold this G8 here and what a powerful message it sent, and what it meant to them. Now, this transformation was made possible by the courage and determination of so many people across all sections of the community. We must show the same resolve in seeing through the agreements that we have reached today, to deliver prosperity and security for the United Kingdom, for the G8 and for the world.
Thank you very much for listening. Time to take some questions. Let’s start with Sky News.
[h=2]Question[/h]Prime Minister, does democratic transition mean Assad must go? If so, why didn’t you say it? And could you tell us please what has happened to your and President Hollande’s plan to arm what you call the savoury aspects of the opposition forces?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well, first of all, on your second point. I mean, we have not made a decision to arm the rebels, we made a decision to lift the arms embargo because it had a moral equivalence between Assad on the one hand and the official Syrian opposition on the other, and we thought that was wrong. And we thought it was important to send a message that that was wrong. And, arguably, some of those things – some of those messages – have helped to get us to a situation where can get a much better political agreement today, that we now have to turn into action.
As for the transition: look, I think it is unthinkable that President Assad can play any part in the future government of his country. He has blood on his hands. He’s used chemical weapons. But what matters in terms of bringing together this international coalition to back-transition, is to say, right, now let’s get on with the process of naming people from the regime. From the opposition, who can sit down and talk about a transitional authority that will take power in Syria; that will have, as we agreed, full power – including full power over the security services and the armed forces. If that can happen, that opens the way to a genuine transition, to a genuine Syria free from Assad, free from terror. That is what we have agreed to work towards, and I think that is an important step forward.
Nick Robinson, from the BBC.
[h=2]Question[/h]Prime Minister, thank you. Why was it so vital in your view to keep President Putin of Russia on board, and why were you prepared to pay the price of abandoning a declaration that Syria’s President Assad should go? And could you just spell out a little bit more – I think you were making a direct appeal to those in the Syrian regime who may be tempted to fell President Assad – could you spell out a little bit more what your message to them is?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well, first of all, I think let’s be clear. People, I think, in the media, were expecting us to come here and either agree no statement at all on Syria, or agree a statement on Syria that was so bland it was meaningless. And actually what we have done is neither of those things. We’ve achieved a very strong and purposeful statement on Syria that includes things that I wouldn’t have expected two days ago.
That includes, for instance, that there should be a UN investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria, and that that should go ahead, signed up by everyone, including Vladimir Putin. So I don’t believe any price has been paid. Quite the opposite, I think we have a very strong statement about what needs to happen in Syria.
In terms of what I’ve just said about the importance of having maintenance of the institutions in Syria, I think this is an important point. What we don’t want to happen in Syria is for the regime to go and for chaos to follow. That is what happened in Iraq, and no-one wants to repeat that. And so what I think is important is to send a very clear signal to the Syrian people that we know Syria needs a functioning government, it needs functioning departments, it needs a functioning military, a functioning police force. It needs those things after Assad has gone.
And people who know in their hearts – they may have been Assad supporters, but who know they simply can’t – you can’t imagine a Syria where this man continues to rule, having done such dreadful things to his people. But these people who also want stability, they should know that that is what the international community has agreed: a future of transition in Syria; a future that won’t involve President Assad; but a future where the institutions of the Syrian State will be maintained because people want stability as well as democracy and freedom. That is the very clear message.
[h=2]Question[/h]President Putin agrees with that statement?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well, as I say, the seven points I read out were the seven points that I agreed having dinner here last night, and the points are written directly into the communiqué that we have released today, and you can see that for yourself. Gary Gibbon?
[h=2]Question[/h]Thank you very much. What’s your message to the charities who support your campaign on beneficial ownership and openness about tax, but say that they’re worried that a series of ‘I should’ pledges just isn’t strong enough? And can I just ask, on Syria: you talked about things sort of falling back a bit, and then you pulling them together. Isn’t all you’ve actually achieved here on Syria is to get President Putin to sign up to what the Foreign Minister of Russia signed up to in Geneva about a year ago to the day?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well, first of all, on the charity. First of all, let me commend Britain’s NGOs and charities for the campaigning work they have done for years on campaigning against tax secrecy, campaigning for openness, campaigning for transparency in extractive industries. This is a cause I have long espoused and have long believed in, and I think it is a really strong declaration.
The declaration says that tax authorities across the world automatically share information, that companies should know who owns them, tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to get this information easily. Extractive companies should report payments to all governments, and governments should publish all that income open and clearly.
These are really strong commitments that have never been written down in this sort of way and then signed. And I made sure that every G8 leader signed them; everyone put their name to these ten commitments. And I think the charities who campaigned on this issue for so long can be really proud of the work that they have done. This is words on a page that the G8 is going to be judged on year after year after year.
When commitments are made about aid, not every G8 country keeps their commitments – we have, we keep our promises. Every year the G8 reports on who’s kept their promises, and from now on the G8 is going to have to report on ‘Have we met these new pledges about tax, about transparency, about trade?’ and I think that’s an incredibly positive thing.
The charities wanted us to take action on beneficial ownership; we have. The charities wanted automatic exchange of information; that’s what we are getting. They wanted to make sure it was available to the poorer countries in the world; it will be. I think these are really good steps forward.
On Syria, look, the fact is just a few days ago people weren’t signing up to a transitional government with full executive powers over – including over the military; that’s there, in the communiqué. A few days ago I think it would have been pretty unthinkable to sign up to an investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria, you know, saying that President Assad had to allow this to go ahead. So I think that this is turning up the pace of the political change that’s needed in Syria.
Clearly it is still words on a page, we have to turn those words into action, but if those seven steps are taken, then we can get to the point we want, which is a peace conference, a peace process, the end of Assad and a transitional government in Syria. Many actions have to follow but I think people who predicted here either no statement, or a war of G7 versus G1, I think we have been proved wrong. We have something better than that, and that shows the G8 can work when we face each other down leader to leader without a lot of advisors in the room and just try and crunch through the issues and come to a good conclusion.
Tom Newton Dunn?
[h=2]Question[/h]Prime Minister, what you’re effectively saying to all the people of Syria is Assad must go but his killers can stay. What makes you think that’s palatable to the opposition?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well what we’re saying to people – clearly in Syria there are many millions of people who desperately want Assad to go. There are those, obviously in the official opposition, who’ve put their lives on the line to try and achieve that. There are many living quietly and secretly just hoping that this man will go.
But I suspect there are also many others who may have supported him in the past, but who know after all that has been done, after all the horrors committed, after the use of chemical weapons, it is literally unthinkable that someone like this would be able to run a unified and stable Syria into the future. I think people know that in their hearts.
So what they also need to know is that the international community has a clear idea that a Syria without him should be a stable Syria, that the institutions of Syria need to be maintained, and that the extremists in Syria, whether it is Hezbollah helping the regime or whether it is Al-Qaeda fighters helping the opposition, those extremists have to be cleared out. And I think that is an important agreement – again, not something I think has been said before with such clarity by the Russians on the one hand, the British, French and Americans on the other. It has now been said and it’s a good thing it has been said.
Andy Bell?
[h=2]Question[/h]Thank you Prime Minister. Andy Bell, Channel Five news. This is off the immediate G8 agenda, but I think is still a very important issue. Today we’ve spoken to the parents of April Jones, the little girl murdered in Wales. They have said to us that they would like to meet you, and that they would like to see you more personally committed to the campaign to keep images of child abuse off the internet. Can I ask you for your response you what they’ve had to say?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well, my heart absolutely goes out to them for their horrific loss and I’m happy to meet with them. I wasn’t able to be in two places at once today, otherwise I would have been helping with that important seminar with the internet companies and other IT companies to make sure they use their expertise, their brains and their brilliance to get these disgusting images off the internet much faster.
I think there is a real agenda here that the government had already started work on. I have commissioned Reg Bailey from the Mothers’ Union to look right across the piece at this whole issue. I think some important steps have been taken, some extra money for the Internet Watch Foundation, but I’m personally committed to making sure we drive action on this agenda and I’m very happy to meet with the parents.
Let’s have the Financial Times.
[h=2]Question[/h]George Parker from the Financial Times. If I could just go back to Syria and the proposed peace conference in Geneva: there was some talk of it being in June, then some talk of it being in July. I know you have no fixed timetable but there’s some talk of it being now late August or early September.
Are you worried that in the meantime that the Assad regime could carry on the atrocities and the killing of the opposition forces? Do you think Putin is playing for time? And what’s your message to the opposition forces and their willingness to get back to the negotiating table?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well clearly every day without a peace conference is another day of violence and destruction and suffering. You’ve got so many people who can’t return to their homes, people also causing huge amounts of instability in the region because of the pressures on neighbouring countries and all the rest of it.
So everyone wants this peace conference to start as soon as possible. Clearly you need not just the regime to say they’re willing to take part and the opposition saying they’re willing to take part. As was discussed during the meeting, there’s no point simply having negotiation for negotiation’s sake. You have to be negotiating about something that can deliver a transitional government. And that’s why I think the language about a transitional government that has full executive power, including over the armed forces, is so important, because that is something worth negotiating about.
Now, there are still many pieces that have to be put in place in terms of getting this going, but I would commend the work of Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov, and we need to add as much urgency as we can to this process. But has the G8 helped with these seven steps? Yes, I believe it has. Very good.
[h=2]Question[/h]Thank you Prime Minister. David Akin from Sun Media in Ottawa, Canada. Thank you for the hospitality for the past couple of days.
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Pleasure.
[h=2]Question[/h]Bit of a two-parter here. A couple days ago, you may be aware, Prime Minister Harper – and this is his phrase – said Putin was “arming the thugs in Syria”. And Prime Minister Harper also said he wasn’t expecting a deal here because this is really the G7 plus one. So on this then the question: is this the right club for Russia? All the other G7 members have other values that they share on the rule of law, human rights; Russia clearly does not. I’d like your comment on that and what Prime Minister Harper was saying on that issue.
And then on the trade issue – as you know – Canada and the European Union have been negotiating now for four years and not yet reached a deal. You said a couple of days ago in London you were optimistic that deal would soon be concluded. Can you tell me what you spoke to Prime Minister Harper about that? And what would you say to Canadians who might be worried that this new US–EU negotiation will side-swipe, swamp or distract the European Union from what’s already happening with Canada?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well, let me take the second issue first. The negotiations as I can see it have been going well. I think they are really nearly over. There just wasn’t quite enough flexibility right here in Lough Erne to do the final deal but there really are just a couple of remaining issues that I think the European Commission and the Canadian team sitting down with all the information at their fingertips, all the flexibilities they need with member states in the European Union and of course the provinces in Canada.
It wasn’t possible to do it right here; that’s a pity. But the pressure of this G8, I think, really got through a lot of the final issues and it’s now down to the last few yards and I’m sure it will be done. I don’t think it will be side-swiped, as you put it, by the EU–US trade deal, which is just starting, but I would think that it’s in everyone’s interest to get this one done and dusted before other things start kicking off.
On the issue of the G8, first of all, Stephen made a fantastic contribution to this G8 and he’s been leading his country for a long period and has a real expertise and an understanding of so many of these global issues. Look, I think in the end of the day, one of the things that is good about the G8 – because you have Russia and America, as well as the European powers and Canada and Japan there – it’s a relatively small conversation.
Yes, we don’t agree about everything and of course, you know, if there were fewer of us, maybe we would agree about more things. But the point is it’s a small conversation, you know: eight to ten people sitting round a table, you can make some real progress on very difficult issues. I’ve spent long enough sitting in European Councils when you’ve got 28 people round the table knowing that it doesn’t become one conversation. And it did last night over Syria and I think that made a difference. I think that shows why this organisation – one of the reasons why this organisation is still very worthwhile.
Couple more, gentleman here.
[h=2]Question[/h]Mark Davenport from BBC Northern Ireland, Prime Minister. Northern Ireland has obviously delivered in terms of the weather. Can you give us a sense of what your international guests made of this place?
Also it was widely reported that you started your day by tipping your toe in the Lough. Was this true? And if so, would you recommend it as a way to start a hard day of negotiation?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]I always wanted to bring the G8 to Northern Ireland and I’m really thrilled that we were able to do that and to find such a fantastic venue. And I think and hope it has done a lot of good for Northern Ireland. It has demonstrated it is open for business, to demonstrate how beautiful it is and also how warm-hearted and friendly people are.
I think all the fellow G8 leaders were really impressed by Northern Ireland. You know, if you just read newspapers and had an interest over the few – last few years, you couldn’t help but associate Northern Ireland with problems and divisions and all the rest of it. And it’s only when you come and see it for yourself that you just see what a magnificent part of the United Kingdom this is. I’m am also proud that we’ve been able to deliver free advertising for businesses and people of Northern Ireland.
As for how to prepare for a hard day’s negotiation, I can recommend a swim in the Lough. That’s what I did. I have the photographic evidence but I’m not going to share it with any of you. And it certainly wakes you up in the morning and gets you going for a hard day of chairing these meetings.
Gentleman here.
[h=2]Question[/h]Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. Thank you Prime Minister. Did leaders talk about the United States and British intelligence agencies interceptions? And if so, in what context were they discussed? Thank you.
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]We didn’t have a long conversation, just a general conversation about this issue. I’ve answered before that I think cooperation between British and American intelligence services is absolutely vital to our national security. Obama and I have discussed this issue before; I’m sure we’ll discuss it again. Our agencies work incredibly closely together. But I want to again say that it’s absolutely not the case that cooperation is about getting round any of our very strong domestic rules and laws. That is absolutely not the case.
But we have to make the case for the work of our intelligence services and their cooperation. They prevent a whole series of terrorist attacks that could do huge damage to our countries, and we have to be frank about that.
Let’s have a couple more. Gentleman here.
[h=2]Question[/h]Hi. Rodney Edwards, Impartial Reporter. Prime Minister, what did you and President Obama take away from your visit to Enniskillen Primary School yesterday?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]I think he was very struck by the success of an integrated school and the example it set. And he was particularly taken by the fact that the head teacher said there was a long waiting-list and many people wanting to get in – there is the potential for more integrated education, for more schools like that. I think he visits many schools as I visit many schools, but there is something particularly moving about a school like that and we had an incredibly warm welcome.
Patrick Wintour. At the back.
[h=2]Question[/h]Could I ask you a little bit about another set of peace talks? It’s been announced by the White House that there’s going to be direct talks between the Americans and the Taliban. Are we involved in those talks and have we set any preconditions for how those should take place?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well we discussed this last night at our meeting to run through foreign – key foreign policy issues. Look I have long argued that we need to match the security response in Afghanistan where our troops do fantastically important work and where the programme of handing over to the Afghan National Security Forces is on track.
We have to match that with a political process to try and make sure that as many people as possible give up violence, give up armed struggle and join the political process. That is exactly what I hope can happen with elements of the Taliban. And that is the point of the Taliban office in Doha, in Quetta – and the discussions that the Americans will have. We’ve been fully engaged and involved in this process right from the start. Indeed, you know, from the moment I became Prime Minister.
I think this is the right thing to do. Of course it involves all sorts of difficulties, but in the end we’re standing in a place where people who were once committed to violence decided to give up that violence and join a political process. And that is what is required in Afghanistan. That shouldn’t signal any weakening of our security response; it absolutely doesn’t. But if we can persuade people that there is a legitimate political path for them to follow, we should do so.
Rob Winnett?
[h=2]Question[/h]If I could I ask you on the EU-US trade deal, whether or not Britain would be able to participate in that deal, if we leave the EU. Also, whether or not there is a successful deal in the next few years, whether you’re more likely to campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union as a result?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well, obviously the short and strict answer to your question is that if Britain wasn’t in the EU, we wouldn’t directly benefit from an EU-US trade deal. I think it is important to make the point that it’s not just the EU and the US that will benefit from this trade deal, because of the way international trade is so integrated that obviously other countries, other continents, will benefit from this going ahead.
Look, I’m a strong supporter of these bilateral trade deals. I strongly supported the Korea deal; I strongly support the Canadian deal. You know, Britain is an open trading economy; we benefit from these deals going ahead and we obviously benefit from being part of the world’s largest single market, which is on our doorstep: the European Single Market.
As I’ve said very clearly, we should be arguing for reform in Europe, we should be negotiating the European Union, our position within it, and then we should be putting that to the British people. I’ve always been confident we can get a good deal: one that we could recommend to the British people. And I’m as confident of that today, just as when I made the speech at Bloomberg back in January.
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]I didn’t quite put it like that, but Ken is a brilliant human being. Lady here.
[h=2]Question[/h]Thank you. We’ve heard you say several times, not just today, that Britain hasn’t made a decision to arm the rebels in Syria. When the EU arms embargo was lifted it was indicated that that was to keep options on the table, and also to increase pressure going into any sort of negotiations or peace talks. I’m wondering what you’re waiting for at this point. You say you haven’t taken a decision, why not? What would it take? Are you simply waiting for Assad to call your bluff? Do you think he might call your bluff? His forces have gained a lot of ground since the embargo was lifted, or are you just letting the US take the lead in tactically supporting a decision to give lethal aid?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]As I say, I think the first point was that there was this sort of phoney moral equivalence set by the EU arms embargo between President Assad and the Syrian opposition. I think that was wrong, and that’s why we first amended the arms embargo. That was because we absolutely wanted to provide technical assistance, which we couldn’t, but getting ridding of the arms embargo on the opposition. I think it sends a clear signal.
Our major priority is to try and help drive this political process. Nobody wants to see more conflict. Nobody wants to see more arms. Nobody wants to see more death. What I want to see, what everyone wants to see is a political process that can deliver a transition in Syria. I think William Hague the Foreign Secretary, has spoken very clearly about the importance in international affairs and keeping options open, of always preparing for different eventualities. We are absolutely clear about what we wants needs is transition that delivers peace.
Let’s have a couple right at the back.
[h=2]Question[/h]Two questions. In the Syrian section, there’s no mention of safe areas or elections. And then a Northern Ireland one: what degree of buy-in did you get for your planned trade and investment conference in October? Do you think the other G8 countries will come or many of them will come?
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]Well first of all on the investment conference. I’ll be here in October for this conference and I think there were quite a few deliverables for Northern Ireland from countries coming here. The investment announced by Japanese businesses for instance. And I think businesses in different parts of the world who would have been watching the G8 would have seen a great commercial about Northern Ireland and so I hope that we can really encourage high level participation – high level participation at this event.
In terms of Syria, this was not a long statement. We just wanted to try and cover those key seven points that I set out, that we discussed last night at the dinner. I think the statement does that well. I think there are quite a few things there that are new and positive and a sign of momentum in this peace process which badly needs it.
Lady next door to you.
[h=2]Question[/h]Tracey Magee, UTV. Prime Minister I was wondering what it says to you that an area like Northern Ireland that has suffered such a terrible past and still suffers from terrorist attacks, has delivered one of the most peaceful G8s in recent history.
[h=2]Prime Minister[/h]I think it says first of all a huge amount about people in Northern Ireland who have been incredibly welcoming, who wanted this event to be a success. I think second we should say a very big thank you to the PSNI, the Police Service in Northern Ireland. I remember coming here many years ago when they were first formed and being impressed by the spirit and what they aimed to achieve. And I think they’ve performed magnificently and done an absolutely brilliant job.
But I think there’s a bigger message when you stand back from it all that Northern Ireland can host an event like this. You know it’s probably been the most peaceful G8 and the least disrupted by protests of any G8 I can remember in recent memory. So I think it says a lot about the police. It says a lot about the people, but above all it says a lot about the state of Northern Ireland and I hope that’s a really positive message that people can take away.
I thank you all for coming. Thank you very much indeed.


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