Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1997 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Islamabad

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Islamabad, held on Sunday 12th January 1997.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, what issues did you discuss in your talks with our Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

We had some very interesting and worthwhile discussions. They overran a little and I think that reflects the fact that we covered a lot of ground and they were very interesting. Let me summarise some of the things we discussed for you. We discussed, of course, the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of Independence, we discussed the many events that will be taking place both in the United Kingdom and in Pakistan, and in particular The Queen's visit in October and the arrival of the Royal Yacht and the Lord Mayor of London earlier in the year. We regard this as a very important anniversary and we are very anxious to make sure that it is a success.

We also spent a lot of time discussing the trade and investment opportunities. I have brought with me to Pakistan a very distinguished large group of very senior businessmen, indeed there are no more senior businessmen that I have brought with me, to Pakistan. We have seen over the last few years a significant increase in trade between our two countries and a truly remarkable increase in British investment in Pakistan. And the Prime Minister and I have been discussing this and we have been discussing the tremendous opportunities that exist to increase mutual trade and to accelerate investment in Pakistan and I very much hope that we are going to be able to achieve this.

We discussed also the drugs problems. We are working together to deal with the drugs problems. As you may recall, the United Kingdom were able to provide two helicopters recently to help in that. We began discussions on further measures that we might be able mutually to take to deal with the problems of drugs.

We discussed a series of individual trading matters and I raised earlier in my private discussion with the Prime Minister our continuing concern about the kidnapped captives from Kashmir. Those and a range of other matters were part of our agenda this afternoon. I don't promise you that that is an absolutely comprehensive list of the things we discussed, but it is at least a good starting point for you.

QUESTION:

There are serious human rights violations in occupied Kashmir, would you please comment on this?

PRIME MINISTER:

We are very concerned about human rights violations wherever they occur, and we will have the opportunity to discuss Kashmir. We didn't discuss Kashmir at length this afternoon. I am sure we will discuss Kashmir at greater length tomorrow, that is certainly the case, but thus far we didn't. So we will deal with that and other matters tomorrow.

QUESTION:

Do you think that Kashmiris should be given the right of self-determination under the UNO?

PRIME MINISTER.

We will be discussing Kashmir tomorrow and I will comment on it when we have discussed it tomorrow?

QUESTION:

Did the question of Afghanistan come up in the discussions?

PRIME MINISTER:

The question of Afghanistan did come up in the discussions, it came up in the context of drugs initially, but also our concern to make sure that there is a ceasefire and a proper series of negotiations in Afghanistan and that the Taliban and others cooperate with the United Nations Special Mission, and we spent some time discussing that.

QUESTION:

Since you are coming here from New Delhi and Dhaka, what is your assessment about the regional security situation and what role can Britain play to promote peace and stability in South Asia and to discourage the arms race initiative by our eastern neighbour, India?

PRIME MINISTER:

We are very keen to see greater security in Asia. I understand the problems that have arisen with China, with India and Pakistan and they are matters also that we will be discussing tomorrow. We have not yet had the opportunity of discussing them this afternoon, it has been a preliminary discussion. But at the end of the day, that improvement of security cannot be brought about by external forces, it can best be brought about by agreements between India, Pakistan and, where appropriate, China. We would very much like to see such agreements, we have made no secret of that. We are very keen to see an ending of the arms race, particularly insofar as nuclear weaponry is concerned. But essentially the decisions are actually going to have to be taken by the nations themselves. We would actively seek to see that happen, we think it would be very desirable that it does happen and I daresay that is another matter we will have the opportunity to talk about tomorrow. But this afternoon the Prime Minister and I have principally been talking about trading and related matters.