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1993 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in London

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in London, held on Wednesday 20th January 1993.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, what is your message to President Clinton as he takes office today?

PRIME MINISTER:

I send him my very best wishes on his inauguration today and for his term of office. His success as President of the United States is important not just for the United States but for everyone in Europe and beyond. I think there is absolutely no doubt about that. So I wish him the warmest best wishes, he is taking on a remarkable task, I am sure he is well equipped to do it and I look forward to working with him.

QUESTION:

Are you going to be able to establish a close working relationship?

PRIME MINISTER:

I see no reason why not, we have had a number of telephone conversations so far, we have touched on a wide range of issues, some of them detailed, some of them generalist. We expect to have a meeting pretty soon and I have no doubt we will be able to work together very satisfactorily.

QUESTION:

You discussed Iraq with President Clinton on the phone last night, are you and he prepared to step up the level of hostilities against Saddam Hussein if he fails to live up to his new promises?

PRIME MINISTER:

It has always been the position of the United States and the United Kingdom that the Iraqis must keep to the Security Council resolutions. President-elect Clinton has made it clear that will be his position in future too.

QUESTION:

Do you think you might be tempted to take up on Mr Clinton’s domestic policies to get the economy going here?

PRIME MINISTER:

We have set out our domestic policies for getting the economy going and the Chancellor no doubt will address all these matters in his budget in due course, beyond that I am not being drawn.

QUESTION:

Will you be taking seriously Saddam Hussein’s offer of a ceasefire?

PRIME MINISTER:

We will have to wait and see what actually he means by it, we have seen offers from him before, we have also seen the outcome of it before, let us see whether there is any practical action, in particular let us see whether he is going to obey the Security Council resolutions with let, without hindrance and without frustrations, that would be a great move forward if he would do that.

QUESTION:

The French government has criticised the bombing raid on the Baghdad nuclear plant as a step too far, do you share that concern?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I do not share that concern at all, this was a raid made by the United States rather than the allies because they had the equipment in site to do it, but there was discussion between the allies, including the French, the legal position is quite clear, this was within international law and I think the United States were wholly justified. I have no reservations about it.