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Transcript of doorstop interview: 27 February 2003: Canberra: meeting with Ambassador Schieffer.

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Subjects: Meeting with Ambassador Schieffer

JOURNALIST: Are you satisfied that we have seen the end of attempted meddling in domestic politics by the US Ambassador?

CREAN: I am and that’s important. As you know at the time that that Bulletin article appeared I was very angry at what I believed was the outrageous intervention by the US Ambassador in domestic political affairs. I thought that it was important that we meet face to face to talk about it and today was that opportunity.

It was a long and a productive meeting. It was a cordial meeting. It had to happen face to face. I believe it was important to draw the line under the issue. We’ve done that and we’ve undertaken to keep in regular contact as this issue develops.

JOURNALIST: Has he apologised for his comments?

CREAN: I’m not going to go into the discussions we had concerning the contents of the article. As you know there were aspects of that article that were wrong, quite apart from issues that he should not have involved himself in, but they’re discussions that he and I have had. He understands completely my position in relation to it. What’s important is that we draw the line under it and move on from here.

JOURNALIST: When governments call in ambassadors it’s called a carpeting. Did you carpet the ambassador?

CREAN: Well the carpet was there for him and so was a cup of tea. I called him in, it was important to have the discussion face to face, it’s important that it’s happened before the Parliament goes back and we’ve undertaken to keep in regular contact.



JORUNALIST: Mark Latham has suggested that the Australian government should consider withholding intelligence information if a war on a country like Iraq is launched without UN support. What’s your reaction to that?

CREAN: We have our obligations under the alliance. We won’t be changing them and I’ve made that clear today at a press conference and within the party.