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1992 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Munich

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Munich, held on Tuesday 7th July 1992.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, the Americans are talking about a substantial new aid effort in Yugoslavia, would Britain join that?

PRIME MINISTER:

We had some general discussions last night about Yugoslavia but nothing concrete has been decided at all and I have no doubt we will return to that. But the principal topic of discussion this morning of course is the former Soviet Union.

QUESTION:

But on Yugoslavia.

PRIME MINISTER:

I have nothing to say about Yugoslavia at the moment, I am afraid, nothing whatsoever.

QUESTION:

What about GATT, there are reports that you are trying to unblock the log-jam, where do we stand now?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think everyone would like to see some progress on the GATT agreement. Clearly if we wish to get world trade moving, the sooner we get a GATT agreement the better, and that is certainly a view that I have expressed and one that I will continue to express. But nobody should under-estimate the difficulties there are for some nations in actually securing an agreement. There is no chance of an agreement actually being reached over this weekend, there are many things and many interests not represented here. But I think what we can do is examine the difficulties, see which of those can best be unblocked most speedily and determine how we can go about that, and of course in private that is what we are all trying to do.

QUESTION:

Are you going to raise this with President Mitterrand today?

PRIME MINISTER:

I will have to raise a whole series of things with all the other Heads of Government, in a matter of discussion it will continue to be one, it would be surprising if we were not discussing that in the present circumstances.

QUESTION:

Would it be fair to say that you are now talking about delaying or slowing down the rate at which subsidies would be cut?

PRIME MINISTER:

Subsidies for whom?

QUESTION:

In agricultural subsidies.

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I am not going into the details of the discussions. I think there are three or four quite separate areas in GATT that still need to be determined and I strongly suspect they will only be determined collectively, they will not be picked off one by one.

I am sure that conflicting interests will mean that that certainly is not the case. We will need a collective agreement which deals with all those matters at the same time, now at the moment they are being discussed. I do not think people should have expectations that it is all going suddenly and magically to be solved. It would be very agreeable if that could be the case but there are, as I say, many interests to be considered, many to be consulted, some not here at this particular summit. But I think it is an opportunity to examine the difficulties that exist and see if there is a better way to proceed to make sure we get the agreement we all know that we need and to get that agreement as speedily as possible.

QUESTION:

What will you say to many people in the West who say we have got rising unemployment, we have got economic difficulties, why on earth should we help the Russians who have been running a military state for so long?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there is a distinction between the difficulties that we face in the West, and they are real difficulties of course, and the difficulties that are faced in the former Soviet Union. They face the danger not of difficulties but of total, complete disintegration, chaos and collapse, that is the clear distinction. We, by we I mean the United Kingdom, have been offering special help for the former Soviet Union, especially Russia, and looking after their interests in negotiations with the IMF. We now have an agreement with the IMF and we will have the opportunity of discussing that this morning and discussing it further with Mr Yeltsin when he is here tomorrow. I think that will be a very valuable exchange.