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1994 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview with Russian Journalists

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview with Russian journalists, held outside 10 Downing Street in London on 10th February 1994.


QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

I shall certainly go there with very warm feelings for the Russian people. I have enjoyed my past visits to Russia and I have enjoyed meeting Russian leaders here on a number of occasions. I have a fairly extensive agenda and I look forward to discussing with President Yeltsin both matters internal to Russia, bilateral matters and of course there are a wide range of international matters we will wish to discuss with him both economic and political. I expect them to be very wide ranging discussions indeed.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think the change of Cabinet in Russia is a matter for the Russian people. My concern and that is the concern of all my colleagues in this country is to continue the success of the reform programme and the success of the movement towards economic prosperity in Russia. That is in Russia’s interests and it is very much what we wish to see as well.

QUESTION:

Mr Major, you will be the first western leader to meet the Russian leadership after the NATO decision in Yugoslavia which may seriously affect the Russian relationship with the western world. What do you think will be the main purpose of your visit in this concern?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I very much look forward to discussing this in Moscow next week. The objectives that the Russian Government have are the same objectives that we have in the west. We would like to see the fighting stopped, we would like to see a political settlement. Emphatically what NATO is doing is not taking sides in the conflict. That is not what we are doing. What we are concerned about is to stop the fighting around Sarajevo and the needless and senseless deaths that occur there. That is the purpose of what we are seeking to do but the objective is one I believe Russia shares and that is to find a negotiated settlement to the conflict. There is no other satisfactory outcome.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

Russia is a very large and a very powerful nation. We are concerned to have very good relations with Russia. If there are any areas we can help then we are very happy to help. But of course Russia has a great deal to offer the rest of the world.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think you might ask that question and get a better answer this time next week, but I will expect to be very warmly wrapped up for the Russian winter. We are quite hardy we East Anglians.