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1993 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in London

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview held in London on Sunday 17th January 1993.


QUESTION:

Is this a punishment that fits the crime of Saddam Hussein?

PRIME MINISTER:

The action that was taken this evening was taken after a great deal of consideration, after a great deal of consultation and after giving Iraq every opportunity to comply with the Security Council resolutions. They were aware that they were breaking them. They were blatantly breaking them and they were aware that they were at risk of a response. And after very careful consultation between the allies there was a response.

QUESTION:

Did you counsel caution on President Bush?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, there was complete agreement between the allies about the nature and timing of the response this evening. It has been discussed for two or three days. I have had a number of discussions over the weekend with President Bush and the outcome of those discussions and with President Mitterrand and others was the action taken this evening.

QUESTION:

[Indistinct] action if necessary?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am not going to anticipate what may happen now. We have said repeatedly that there are Security Council resolutions that we require Iraq to comply with. They know that. It could not possibly be clearer to them. They have been told time and time and time again. They have now had illustrations that if they will not comply with the Security Council resolutions then there will be a response. I hope they will comply.

QUESTION:

Do you regret the civilian casualties?

PRIME MINISTER:

We do not yet know any details about that. The military advice I have is that it is very unlikely, that those casualties, if you mean the Rashid Hotel, that the casualties were caused by the action of the United States. We do not know that. There was a great deal of random and haphazard fire from within Baghdad and it may well be that that was self inflicted but at this moment we do not know.

QUESTION:

What about British military involvement, do you expect any of that?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am not going to anticipate what may happen in the future. On this occasion it was considered operationally the right way to deal with the problem was to use the Tomahawk cruise missiles and that was what happened.

QUESTION:

What about those who say that this was reckless and will escalate problems in the Gulf?

PRIME MINISTER:

I disagree with them. The problems, originally the invasion of Kuwait came from Iraq. The disobedience of the Security Council resolutions is by Iraq. It is not just the occasional disobedience, it’s wilfully disobeying the requirements of the international community time and time again. He has been courting trouble, he has had trouble. He knew what was likely to happen. It has happened.

QUESTION:

Will you be making a statement Prime Minister to the House of Commons tomorrow?

PRIME MINISTER:

The Defence Secretary will make a statement tomorrow afternoon.