"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Asked if the Prime Minister had had any contact with President Putin, the PMOS replied that he did yesterday, and they had a very positive discussion.
Asked if it was better than their last discussion, the PMOS said that this re recent conversation was on a more limited subject, i.e. the meeting of the Quartet.
Asked who initiated the contact, the PMOS said that he was not going to get into the details.
Asked if the conversation ended with the Russians agreeing to back the decision, the PMOS replied that we had not given any commentary on the Quartet meeting, and we weren't going to, but it was right to confirm the factual position about a conversation and overall tone. The Quartet meeting, we always assumed, would take the length it time it had because this was a particularly sensitive time in the Middle East. In terms of getting the details right, it was important to get it right at this stage.
Put that Bertie Ahern had said this morning that the Prime Minister had confirmed with him that he had taken the job and that he expected it to be tricky, and could we confirm this, the PMOS replied that Bertie Ahern was someone with whom the Prime Minister had the utmost respect, but we had to wait for the outcome of the Quartet meeting instead.
Asked if it would be a surprise if the Russians were not to decide about the role until early July, the PMOS replied that he had seen nothing that would lead to that view.
Asked if people should expect an announcement on this today, the PMOS said that this was a matter for the Quartet, and not to decide.