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1992 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Washington

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Washington, held on Friday 18th December 1992.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, what did you manage to achieve in the talks with President Bush this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think they were extremely productive talks, I think the most immediate outcome of them is I believe we have put the GATT talks in Geneva back on track, there was an agreement between President Bush, President Delors and myself that we should instruct the negotiators to go back to the talks, beginning again in early January, and seek to reach a substantive conclusion by mid-January, if that can be achieved it is very good news.

QUESTION:

President Delors was leaving no doubt that he thinks it is the Americans who should make concessions now in services in the non-agricultural area, is that your view too?

PRIME MINISTER:

When you are in negotiations everyone makes concessions, that is the way one reaches agreement, I do not think one can be certain that it is the Europeans, the Cairns Group, the Americans, we are now into multilateral negotiations, not bilateral, and I think there may need to be movement on many sides. But the important thing is the sheer political will to make sure we reach a settlement, very important for the world economy, that political will has been put there today.

QUESTION:

How do you feel about the state of the special relationship after your telephone call with President-elect Clinton?

PRIME MINISTER:

The special relationship, as you call it, is a very close relationship built on shared interests and it has been there for very many years, I do not have a shred of doubt that it will continue, not a shred of doubt.

QUESTION:

Do you think that things will change in American foreign policy?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think one must let President-elect Clinton get his feet under the table but I think the preliminary judgment that one makes is that foreign policy will be remarkably similar in the future, there may be changes in domestic policy, I cannot speak for that, but as far as foreign policy objectives are concerned I think they will be strikingly similar.

QUESTION:

What about the UN Assembly decision today to step up the pressure on Yugoslavia, does that suggest that we are moving now towards tougher action?

PRIME MINISTER:

I hope to have the opportunity of discussing that further over the weekend. I think many people will regard as unspeakable many of the things that have happened in Yugoslavia but what we must do is temper that instinctive reaction with practical measures that will assist and not damage the development of policy in Yugoslavia. I shall be discussing that over the weekend.