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1991 - Mr Major’s Message to the Falkland Islands

Below is the text of Mr Major’s message to the Falkland Islands, recorded on 20th December 1991.


PRIME MINISTER:

Norma and I are delighted to have this opportunity once again to send you our Christmas greetings and best wishes for a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Earlier this year, under the aegis of the United Nations, we and our allies liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's unlawful invasion. The role our Armed Forces played was magnificent.

In what was once the Communist Bloc, the cause of freedom and representative government made further important advances but those advances were not only confined to Europe; throughout Latin America, democracy has become more deeply rooted, which is good news not only for Britain but for you. Democracies understand that governments cannot be imposed and understand our commitment to safeguard your rights.

1991 has also been a good year for the Islands. We have reached important agreements with Argentina, including one reinforcing your security. There has also been the passage of the Bill to permit seismic surveying on the Continental Shelf which could well prove to be a landmark in your economic development. The Fisheries Agreement concluded with Argentina a year ago has worked well and both governments have recently agreed to renew the ban on fishing in the Falklands outer conversation zone.

1991 has also seen the end of the proud tradition of service to the Falklands, South Georgia and the British Antarctic Territory of HMS “Endurance”. Sadly, her deteriorating condition after almost a quarter of a century of work in the South Atlantic and Antarctic has made it unsafe for her to continue to undertake another journey south. The Government are however committed to maintaining the programme previously carried out by "Endurance" for the foreseeable future. As many of you will know, we have chartered HMS "Polar Circle" to undertake “Endurance’s” work. I am sure that you will give her crew a very warm welcome when they arrive in Stanley at the end of this month.

I am sorry that I cannot join the many well-wishers who will visit the Falklands during your Heritage Year; I should have loved to do so but getting away from Downing Street even as far as Chequers is quite an achievement these days. I shall be with you in spirit and keeping in touch with developments.

May I also take this opportunity to send once again my best wishes and thanks to the men and women of our Armed Forces who are separated from their families at Christmas. We are very grateful to you and very proud of the work that you do.

A Very Happy Christmas to you all!