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1992 - Mr Major’s Address to Troops at Redoubt

Below is the text of Mr Major’s address to the troops at Redoubt on Tuesday 22nd December 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

I am afraid in the next few months it is going to get less easy, the weather so far has been better than it might have been, it will get worse, no doubt there will be other difficulties, I think we need to be prepared for that, you have been here for some time getting ready so that you are prepared for that.

But I think we need to bear in mind a couple of things. Let me tell you, over the weekend I spent the weekend in the United States talking to President Bush and others, he particularly asked me to say to you how much admiration there is in the United States and elsewhere for the work that the British troops are doing here, I think people know that you are the backbone, ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid.

I can only say to you, you may think out here pretty much that you are on your own when you are widening the road or when the Cheshires are operating up the road a little, but day after day people at home are seeing what you are doing, they are hearing about what you are doing, they are concerned about what you are doing and there are millions of people watching it with a very great degree of admiration. So if you do feel pretty cold, pretty chilly, pretty much on your own out there I would just like you to know there are a lot of people thinking of what you are doing.

And the importance of what you are doing is very difficult to over-state. There would be an awful lot of people who would die this winter but for the work that you are able to do and will be doing through the winter, we would not have the roads widened, we would not have the humanitarian aid through, we would not have the medicines through without that, there are a lot of men, women and children who simply would not survive this winter and that is why you are here and I would just like to express my gratitude to you for that.

It is Christmas, you are a long way from home, it is not a great time to be away from home but there will be a lot of other people who will see a few more Christmases because you have sacrificed this Christmas away from your families and out here and I would like to say Thank You to you for that.

You probably know some of the diplomatic moves going on at the moment about the No Fly Zone. I suspect there is going to be a No Fly Zone resolution, we spent the weekend talking about the details of that in America, it will come I suspect before the United Nations in a few days time. Final details of that are still to be determined but I just want to say this to you, when we have that No Fly Zone be absolutely certain that the matter foremost in the minds of the government and others will be to ensure your security out here, that is not for one second going to be overlooked as we make further diplomatic moves. I would like you to know that and I would like your families back home in Germany, where many of them will be, or in the United Kingdom, to know that as well.

So I think that is really all I have got to say, thanks for what you are doing, keep safe, have as good a Christmas as you can and I hope we can get you home as soon as we may. Thank you all very much indeed.