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Canberra: transcript of doorstop interview: visit to Nigeria.



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www.pm.gov.au

19 September 2002

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, CANBERRA

Subjects: visit to Nigeria.

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………………...

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister are you flattered with the party support that your colleagues want you to say on beyond your 64th birthday?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t have anything add to what I’ve previously said on that subject.

JOURNALIST:

Simon Crean says he’d rather face Peter Costello than yourself at the next election, what’s your response to that?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t have anything to add to what I’ve previously said on that subject.

JOURNALIST:

But it must be pleasing though is it Prime Minister to know that there’s such great support in your party.

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t have anything to add to what I’ve previously said on that subject.

JOURNALIST:

PRIME MINISTER

2

Mr Howard, what do you hope to achieve next week when you go to Nigeria and then onto London?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I’m going to Nigeria to meet the South African President and the Nigerian President, we comprise the Commonwealth troika, to talk about Zimbabwe’s failure to respond to the concern expressed at our meeting in London six months ago. And at this stage I’m not too hopeful that we can achieve Zimbabwe’s co-operation but we will try. Zimbabwe has been in total defiance of Commonwealth opinion. Our major concern is about the way in which the election was conducted. We’ll talk about it, there are some limited options regarding Commonwealth membership that are open to us and then of course individual Commonwealth countries can take action if they wish.

JOURNALIST:

And what do you hope to achieve when you meet Tony Blair and Jack Frost in London next week?

PRIME MINISTER:

Jack Straw? Look I would obviously talk to both of them about Zimbabwe, Britain and Australia are both concerned about what is occurring there, and I’ll naturally talk to them about Iraq. It will be a brief visit, I’ll just be in London for a day and a half but I think it’s an opportunity as I’m so close to go on to London and have a discussion with both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary about both of those subjects.

JOURNALIST:

I believe Jack Straw and also Mugabe are going to attending the Nigerian meeting, do you know any details about it?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m not aware that Jack Straw’s coming to the Nigerian meeting, I doubt it. I think you may be confusing him with Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth Secretary General. We have invited President Mugabe, whether he comes or not I don’t know.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard you say that you won’t add anything in terms of the leadership, before your 64th birthday will you ever make another comment about it?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t have anything to add to what I’ve previously said on the subject.

[ends]