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1995 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with Yasser Arafat

Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with Yasser Arafat, held in London on Wednesday 27th September 1995.


MR ARAFAT:

First of all, I have to thank His Excellency for giving me this opportunity to come here and to offer His Excellency the whole brief of our very difficult and long discussion until we had achieved what has been achieved between us and our partners and cousins, the Israelis in Gaza and I offered to His Excellency a copy of this agreement and at the same time we can’t forget and I have to offer to His Excellency in my name and in the name of my people our thanks for what he has done to facilitate and push forward these negotiations by all means and in all directions so I have to say to your country from my heart “Thank you very much! Thank you very much!” and at the same time we had the opportunity to speak about the next text and the economic issue concerning the meeting at Barcelona and the meeting which took place in Amman for [indistinct] Conference and help to coordinate together and at the same we cannot forget that His Excellency was the first G7 leader who came to visit us in Gaza which for us meant a lot; it gave us a very big push in our very difficult circumstances so I have to repeat again and again in front of all of you: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”.

PRIME MINISTER:

Mr. Chairman, thank you very much indeed! Perhaps I can say that the Chairman is a very welcome guest here at Downing Street today. I have been delighted to renew the discussions that we were able to have in Gaza earlier this year and also delighted to congratulate him most warmly on the remarkable agreement that he has reached with Prime Minister Rabin and Foreign Secretary Peres on the future of the Occupied Territories.

We hope very much - and the Chairman is very confident - that it will now be possible for elections to go ahead perhaps in December, perhaps in January - the date is to be decided - but it clearly is a very remarkable step forward and I know the Chairman looks forward to signing this agreement in Washington tomorrow.

I am very pleased indeed that the European Union will play a significant part in monitoring these elections and that the Crown Agents will also be playing a significant role in various matters. We have been able to provide a certain amount of assistance to the Chairman in the difficult circumstances he faced; that will continue. We will look to see where we are able to increase that as a very tangible indication of the please that we have at the progress that has been made towards what has been a very intransigent problem for so very many years.

I know the Chairman has some very heavy negotiations still ahead of him next year but they have already determined the time-scale at which those talks will start and I think the prospects for the future look a good deal brighter than any that might have been imagined just a short while ago so for those reasons I have been very pleased to welcome the Chairman here today, very pleased to continue the dialogue that we had in Gaza and I look forward to that dialogue continuing both directly between the Chairman and myself and also between my Ministers and his representatives.