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1993 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with the Russian Ambassador

Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with the Russian Ambassador, Mr Boris Pankin, held in London on Monday 4th October 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

I invited the Ambassador to come in and talk to me this morning and brief me on the latest position in Russia. There is no doubt that this is a critical moment for the reform process and a critical moment for the future of Russia.

Over the last few months there has been a consistent and determined attempt by a number of people, many extremists, all hardliners, to try and undermine in whatever way they can the reform process. We have seen that developing month after month. I do not believe over the last day or so that President Yeltsin had any choice but to act as he did and I very much admire his restraint over recent months. There should be no doubt that he has our total and unequivocal support for the action that he has taken.

What we now need to see is full support internationally for the line that President Yeltsin has taken and the reform process. I shall be sending within the next few minutes messages not only to my European colleagues but also to Prime Minister Hosokawa and every member of the G7 a message inviting them also to state their public support for the reform process and for President Yeltsin.

What we need to see at the end of this affair is a return to orderliness in Russia and the continuation of the Parliamentary elections that are planned for December.

MR PANKIN:

I would like to confirm once again that we appreciate the support show by the Prime Minister for President Yeltsin and his policy of democracy. The Prime Minister restated once again his support and this support is consistent and continuous. I would like to confirm it on behalf of my President, my government and myself.

PRIME MINISTER:

I just want to add one thing. I will be keeping in touch with the situation as it develops today both in London and at Blackpool when I go there later on. I have no doubt that Douglas Hurd will be developing this matter, we have been in very close touch, in the meeting that he has in Luxembourg at the moment. I have nothing more to say at the moment but certainly as events unfold I may well have more to say.

QUESTION:

Was Mr Pankin able to reassure you that Mr Yeltsin can contain this?

PRIME MINISTER:

I believe President Yeltsin can contain this, that has been the Ambassador's advice, it is our judgment as well, we very much hope so.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible.]

PRIME MINISTER:

We very much hope that he can contain it, it is beginning to look as though he can, I certainly hope that is the case.

QUESTION:

Have you been able to speak to President Yeltsin?

PRIME MINISTER:

I hope to speak to President Yeltsin later on today, our offices have been in touch and I hope we will be able to speak directly later on today.

QUESTION:

Do you think Britain can help in any way?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think the best thing that Britain and other countries can do is to make it absolutely clear publicly that the reform process and the way President Yeltsin is handling it has our total unequivocal support. I think that is something the whole of the international community can do and I invite them to do it.