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1997 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview at the Khyber Pass

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview at the Khyber Pass, held on Monday 13th January 1997.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, give us your impression, if you would, particularly on the work that is going on here to try and reduce the drug trade?

PRIME MINISTER:

The work here is clearly vital. One of the most important drug routes, one of the most damaging drug routes, is coming from Afghanistan, through Pakistan and then on to Northern Europe. And one of the principal activities that is being carried out here is to prevent those drugs getting through. There has been a considerable amount of success. We have been working with the Drug Enforcement Agencies in Pakistan for some time, providing helicopters and equipment, and I wished today to have a look at precisely what was being done to see in what further ways we can help.

QUESTION:

Looking at the statistics though does look as though anybody who tries to tackle this is fighting a losing battle?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there has been a lot of success. Quite a few tonnes, quite literally many tonnes of heroin and hashish and other drugs have actually been stopped and captured. A large number of drug processing laboratories have been identified and destroyed and that work is continuing and indeed that work is accelerating at the moment. There is a huge amount to do. You only have to look at the nature of the terrain to see the difficulty of the task, and the drugs are coming across the Afghan hills from Afghanistan and coming through this pretty wild and remote area en route to Northern Europe. So there is a huge amount to be done, but a great deal is being done and the contacts between the High Commission here, our Drug Enforcement Agencies and the Drug Enforcement Agencies in Pakistan are very close.

QUESTION:

Are you putting more resources in, having seen the nature and the scale of the problem?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, when we identify precisely what is needed. There is no question of putting resources in for the sake of resources. We have increased resources with some more equipment shortly to be added to the helicopters we have provided before. And we will liaise, and where we can identify a shortfall in equipment that is needed then of course we will consider putting it in.

QUESTION:

But the nature and scale of the problem that is being faced by Northern Europe is immense, is it not?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is immense, but of course all the drugs don't come through this route. Some of them come from Latin America and we have already taken action to block off the route from Latin America to the Eastern Caribbean to northern Europe. Now we must make sure that there is similar firm action taken here. A lot has been done, more may need to be done, I am here to look at what needs to be done and then we will make our judgments.