The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1991Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Statement in Riyadh – 7 January 1991

Below is Mr Major’s statement made after meeting the Emir and Crown Prince of Kuwait. The statement was made in Riyadh on 7th January 1991.


Perhaps I might just say very briefly that I have just had a very worthwhile meeting both with the Emir and then separately with the Crown Prince. One of the things that strikes you very forcibly in those discussions is that you are actually talking to people whose country has been invaded and is effectively for the time being a massive prison camp and in which atrocities are being committed daily by the Iraqis. That was very evident and the depth of emotion and feeling that there is about this matter I think was equally evident.

I was able to make absolutely clear to the Emir the full-hearted support that we have for the Security Council Resolutions and the determination that we and the Allies have that Saddam Hussein must leave Kuwait either voluntarily or be expelled forcibly.

I made it equally clear in the discussions we had that a partial withdrawal would not be satisfactory and that it had to be a full withdrawal and that there would be no negotiations and nothing to be gained by Saddam Hussein if he attempted to negotiate for there was nothing to be had. We had a lengthy discussion about these matters and I think a very worthwhile one.

I was also able to express to the Emir my admiration for the way in which the people of Kuwait have acted during the period of this occupation and my hope and belief that they would be free again as soon as possible.

We also spent some time talking about the problems that will occur both in the region and in Kuwait at the conclusion of this matter – whether it is concluded peaceably or not – and we spent some time talking about the necessary reconstruction that there will then have to be in Kuwait and the way in which the United Kingdom would be happy to assist in that.

It was, I think, therefore an extremely worthwhile and useful meeting. I hope it was equally useful to the Emir and the Crown Prince, and they assured me that it was, and I am delighted to have had this opportunity of talking to them today. No doubt, we will have the opportunity, either directly or through our ambassador, for further discussions in the weeks ahead but it was a very sound and worthwhile meeting that we had today and I am pleased I was able to have it.

Thank you very much indeed!