Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1996 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Lyon

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Lyon, held on Saturday 29th June 1996.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, does the Osnabruck attack prove the peace process is over?

PRIME MINISTER:

We don’t definitely yet know that it was the IRA. I think the presumption must be that it was the IRA, it was certainly the sort of mortar that they seem to have used in the past, so I assume that it was them. I think it just indicates the extent to which they are isolating themselves, isolating themselves from the process, isolating themselves from world opinion.

QUESTION:

Are they excluded from the process now?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think the practical point is that nobody is going to sit down with them. If they suddenly say, well we have now decided to stop, I think the other political parties, as well as the British and the Irish governments, are going to say, well how do we know that this is a complete stop, what are you playing at? They have had every opportunity to take a full part in the process. I hope that we are going to hear from Sinn Fein a complete and total condemnation of what happened, if it turns out to be the IRA. But we may have to wait for that.

QUESTION:

Will you be raising it today at the summit?

PRIME MINISTER:

We discussed it last evening. I heard about it during the dinner we had and we discussed it last evening.

QUESTION:

Are you going to cease British Government contacts with Sinn Fein now?

PRIME MINISTER:

We don’t have any practical contacts with Sinn Fein, except at local council level where there are elected local councillors and they play their part as part of the elected local process. There is no further contact beyond that.

QUESTION:

Can I ask you about George Gardiner?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is a matter that is now behind us. I am glad it is behind us. We all have a job to do, everyone in the Conservative Party, to get together and win the next election, and that is clearly what we are going to do now.

QUESTION:

What about Mr Karadzic and continued Bosnian Serb defiance, can this summit do anything about that in particular?

PRIME MINISTER:

We will be discussing this this morning and I think it is a very important issue. There is no doubt that Karadzic has to go, I don’t just mean go and leave a place-man behind him, I mean he has to get out of the political process completely or, in my judgement, we cannot have satisfactory elections and we can’t proceed with the Dayton Accord satisfactorily. So I hope we are going to address that this morning. And I hope it will be clear that if Karadzic does not go, that there will be some response, and I think the right response would be sanctions, perhaps initially on Republic Srpska, perhaps also on the FRY, but certainly a response if it is clear that Karadzic isn’t genuinely going and leaving the process.