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1990 - Christmas Message to the Falkland Islands

Below is the text of Mr Major’s Christmas Message to the Falkland Islands on Wednesday 12th December 1990.


PRIME MINISTER:

This is my first opportunity to speak to you as Prime Minister. Norma and I want to wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

1990 has really been a remarkable year for all of us. We have seen sweeping changes throughout Europe. The Berlin Wall has come down and Germany has been reunified again. And now we face a very difficult situation in the Gulf as a result of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Our Armed Forces are there to help recover the liberty and independence of a small country, precisely as they did for the Falklands in 1982.

In your part of the world there has been the agreement to restore full diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina. I believe this will be helpful in the future, not least of course because it will make the South Atlantic a more peaceful and stable area. And now that we have the agreement on fisheries conservation as well, the prospect is far brighter that fishing will provide an important source of revenue for the long-term.

I do assure you that we achieved these agreements with Argentina without in any way compromising our position on British sovereignty. You need be in no doubt that we will continue to honour our commitments to you.

All of you know how close the interests of the Falkland Islands and their people were to my predecessor, Margaret Thatcher. They are equally close to mine.

Norma and I would very much like to visit you and hope one day to be able to do so. I know for the moment you will understand how difficult it is to get away. In the meantime, therefore,

Tristan Garel-Jones, the Minister of State at the Foreign Office, will be visiting the Falkland Islands early next year. I know that he hopes to meet as many of you as possible and he will then report fully to me when he returns. I am sure you will give him a generous welcome.

May I also take this opportunity to send my warmest wishes to the men and women of the Armed Forces who are far away from their families at Christmas. We are grateful to them and proud of them.

A Very Happy Christmas to you all.