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1991 - Mr Major’s Comments on the Soviet Situation

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the Soviet situation, made in an interview held in Moscow on Sunday 1st September 1991.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked whether he had learned about the expectations in the Soviet Union].

PRIME MINISTER:

I believe I did. Clearly the situation in the Soviet Union is evolving very rapidly indeed, but the chaos just a few days ago is beginning to sort itself out and the centre and the republics are beginning to determine the relationship that they will have in future. I suspect from the discussions I have had today that that will be clarified greatly at the Congress tomorrow.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked what economic help would be offered to the Soviet Union].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think one needs to look at economic assistance at two levels, firstly, the short-term economic assistance that may be needed to assist perhaps with food and humanitarian assistance this winter; and also the economic assistance, the Know-How Fund, the technical assistance that will be needed to help the reform process along. Both those forms of assistance are available very speedily. Beyond that we will wish to see a very credible reform programme in place. We are entirely content to help a reform programme that will work but we do wish to see that it is a credible reform programme and one that is in the interests of the Soviet nation as a whole.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked that now he had met Yeltsin and Gorbachev, how did he see them working together].

PRIME MINISTER:

They certainly have in common the fact that they need to work together in the interests of the Soviet people as a whole, they both have power, they both have responsibility, they both have that power and responsibility at a turbulent time when much needs to be done. I believe they both understand that, that they will be prepared to work together and try and find the solutions that are necessary to ensure that both the political reform programme and the economic reform programme can continue. There is a very great deal hanging on the fact that they work successfully together.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if they would be likely to both participate at the next European Summit].

PRIME MINISTER:

That is not a matter that has been a subject of discussion today and neither have I discussed that with other European Heads of Government.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked what his view would be].

PRIME MINISTER:

I do not know that an offer has yet been made, but I think I ought to discuss that sort of thing before expressing an opinion, I have not done so, so I have no opinion to express tonight.