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1996 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Lyon

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Lyon, held on Thursday 27th June 1996.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, do you share President Clinton’s objective of making terrorism a major feature of this G7 summit?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I do, very strongly. The outrage at Dhahran and the outrage at Manchester, where only good fortune prevented many people being killed, means that it is an issue we must address. We began to address it after the Sharm el Sheikh summit and I would like to carry it further.

QUESTION:

What can you do in practical terms to help to tackle terrorism? Is it just going to be a lot more talk?

PRIME MINISTER:

I very much hope not. We have got some proposals to discuss and I believe others have as well, so we will see what comes out of them.

QUESTION:

Can I ask your feelings after England’s defeat in the European soccer last night and what did you have to say to the team afterwards?

PRIME MINISTER:

I was immensely sorry they lost. But soccer won last night. It was a truly wonderful game, I think the best England game certainly that I have ever personally seen and I believe they played magnificently. So there is no need for too great a disappointment in defeat. The way they played was a credit to the country and a credit to themselves and I hope they will see it that way. I didn’t see the whole team afterwards, I saw one of two of them and I said precisely that to them.

QUESTION:

Can I ask you about the disturbances in Trafalgar Square last night, do you think that let the side down somewhat?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think we need to get it in context. They were disgraceful, but they were a relatively small number of people compared to the 75,000 people in Wembley and the literally many millions of people who were watching that game on television. That demonstration was not remotely in the spirit of the whole tournament, it was not remotely in the spirit of the way the England team played and it was not remotely in the spirit of sportsmanship that we actually saw on the pitch at Wembley last night. These people should not besmirch soccer. They are not soccer supporters, they do damage to soccer.

QUESTION:

Apart from terrorism, what else do you think should be high on the agenda at this summit?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there are a number of things. Multilateral trade of course, I would like to see if we can make further progress on assistance with international debt for some of the poorer countries, I think both of those matters will clearly be high on the agenda. I think there is no doubt also that we will want to spend some time discussing Bosnia and the need to make progress in Bosnia towards meeting the Dayton Accords and the removal of Mr Karadzic.

QUESTION:

Will you take up with President Clinton the United States’ actions against firms who do business with Cuba, Libya or Iran?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think that is a matter that will come up. It is not particularly a summit matter, it is a matter that is more likely to be dealt with bilaterally over the weeks ahead, but I am sure we will discuss it in passing.

QUESTION:

Are you happy with the US action?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think our position is well known on that and I will discuss it with the President later today.