Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1995 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview at Chequers

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview at Chequers on Sunday 5th November 1995 following the assassination of Yitkhaz Rabin.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, what is your reaction to the assassination?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am deeply saddened by what has happened. Yitzhak Rabin has been seeking for peace in the Middle East for very many years. I think no-one has done so much towards seeking it as he has. What has happened is a great tragedy, not just for his family, not just for Israel, but for the Middle East peace process.

QUESTION:

How concerned are you about the future of the peace process?

PRIME MINISTER:

Everyone wants the peace process to continue and be successful. There is a great world interest in the peace process, not just here in the United Kingdom but right across the world. I think that what Mr Rabin would have wanted would be for this to have given some momentum to the peace process in the future and I very much hope that will happen.

QUESTION:

What will you be saying to the Acting Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

I will be expressing the thoughts of millions of people in the United Kingdom about what has happened. He was a very popular man here, a frequent visitor here, a very good relationship with the United Kingdom. There will be huge numbers of people in this country who will feel very personally about what will happen. I will certainly express that to the Acting Prime Minister. And then I will express the wish that he will carry on the work. He has been intimately involved with it. I am sure he will, and I hope that Mr Peres will carry it forward to success.

QUESTION:

How did you find Mr Rabin personally?

PRIME MINISTER:

I found him a very engaging man. I had met him quite frequently over recent years. We had a great deal to discuss. I was the first British Prime Minister for many years to visit Israel just a few months ago. We spent a lot of time together. He visited here on many occasions. When he was here I think last time, or last time but one, it was the day of one of the dreadful bus bombs in Israel and we provided a plane immediately for him to go home. We spoke from time to time on the phone. I found him a man utterly determined to proceed down the peace process, despite the short-term difficulties, despite the obvious discomforts of going down that road politically, because he believed there was a great historical opportunity for peace and he was determined to try and take it.