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1990 - Mr Major’s Comments on Iraq

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on Iraq, made in Washington on Saturday 22nd December 1990.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked whether he had any doubts about the US President’s use of military action in Iraq].

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I am in no doubt at all. The President, like everyone else, would prefer the matter to be peacefully settled but indeed, I have no doubt whatsoever about the ultimate commitment to force.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked why sanctions wouldn’t work instead of using force].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think you have to consider firstly what is happening day by day in Kuwait. You are seeing the dismantlement of a country that at present is being run rather like a prison camp, so I think that is not an argument for excessive delay. Equally, of course, there are Security Council Resolutions and I think they should be observed.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked why sanctions couldn’t be given longer].

PRIME MINISTER:

Sanctions have had a chance to work. I think you should address those questions to Saddam Hussein and invite him to withdraw. It is he who invaded Kuwait; it is he who is dismantling it; it is he who can bring the matter speedily to a peaceful conclusion.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he was committed to a war if it were necessary].

PRIME MINISTER:

We must hope that it proves not to be necessary and I think we must hope that Saddam Hussein will come to his senses and withdraw but there is no doubt that if he does not withdraw voluntarily, then he will have to be made to withdraw involuntarily.