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1992 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with Lithuanian President

Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview at Downing Street with the Lithuanian President, President Landsbergis, on Wednesday 22nd January 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

This morning, I have had the opportunity of having discussions with President Landsbergis and have had the very great pleasure of welcoming him here as President of an independent country. That is an especial pleasure to us in the United Kingdom for we had never recognised the Baltic States' absorption into the former Soviet Union and to see them again recognised as an independent country gives us especial pleasure and I am delighted that we now have diplomatic representation in his country.

We have had a wide-ranging discussion this morning and have touched on many matters of bilateral interest. One in particular I would like to mention to you this morning and that is that I have agreed this morning with President Landsbergis that we will repay to his country the Baltic gold that was deposited here in 1940 and that had been sold by a previous government in the late 1960s. What we have agreed is that we will replace the quantity of gold that was originally deposited. President Landsbergis has agreed that he will wish this gold to remain deposited with the Bank of England but we will arrange the transfer of title once legal formalities have been completed.

We have also agreed this morning that there are a series of relatively small intergovernmental claims one country against the other that have been outstanding for many years. We have decided, in parallel with the agreement over Baltic gold, that we will both renounce the claims one country against another and leave the diplomatic/economic slate entirely clean for us to develop a relationship from now onwards.

It has been an extremely helpful and useful discussion. We have discussed other economic and wider matters and I am delighted to have had the opportunity of this meeting with President Landsbergis this morning.

PRESIDENT LANDSBERGIS:

I am very glad to be here to have this meeting to meet Mr. Prime Minister and say that we had a very good understanding of each other. Mr. Prime Minister understands very good the Lithuanian problems and supports us - has supported before and now - in our goals to be a more democratic, more prosperous country as a member of the European and whole world community of free nations.

We resolved the old problems; we touched the new ones and we have a very good perspective of cooperation for the future.

I am very glad Mr. Prime Minister for this meeting.