Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with the UN Secretary General, Mr Boutros Boutros Ghali, in London on Monday 13th January 1992.
I was very pleased this afternoon to be able to welcome the Secretary General to London and to congratulate him at an early stage in his new appointment as Secretary General of the United Nations.
We have had the opportunity this afternoon of a very wide ranging discussion on many of the matters of concern to the UN at present and there are of course a vast range of those. In particular I have been able to finalise with the Secretary General the arrangements for the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Security Council, which I can now confirm will be on 31 January.
We now have confirmation from all the Heads of State and Government that they will be present on this occasion and it will give us an early opportunity in the Secretary General’s tenure to meet and to look at some of the issues of great importance to us all at present.
I can in particular confirm that President Yeltsin will be attending and this of course will be the first occasion he will have had to attend such a meeting in his new capacity.
In the Extraordinary General Meeting we see several matters that need to be addressed as being of particular importance. The first of those is the United Nations’ role as a peace-maker, a peace-keeper and as a settler of disputes. We will wish to look and examine how that can be enhanced with the vast number of regional conflicts that exist at present.
The second area of particular importance will be the question of disarmament and non-proliferation and the very important role that the United Nations has to play in that.
And the third continuing area of importance will be to stress yet again the very great importance that the United Nations generally gives to the maintenance of good government and human rights.
I am very pleased that this special General Meeting is coming about. I do not claim it as an original idea, the original concept of this was President Mitterrand’s some months ago. But I am confident from the warm response it had from people around the world that it is an idea whose time has come.
So these are the matters we have had the opportunity to discuss this afternoon and I am very grateful to the Secretary General for joining me. He now perhaps may care to say a word or two.
I just want to thank the Prime Minister for the Summit meeting of the members of the Security Council which will be held at the end of the month in New York and I believe that this summit meeting will be very useful for the United Nations, for the Secretariat of the United Nations and for the new mission of the United Nations – promoting peace, settling peacefully international disputes, contributing to peace-keeping, peace-making and peace-building, and promote human rights and democratic institutions in the different countries of the world. The summit meeting will certainly help me personally in my new job and I want again to thank the Prime Minister for proposing this meeting and I am sure that this meeting will be a success and will contribute to the reinforcement of peace and security all over the world.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Prime Minister, is President Yeltsin coming to London first?
I spoke to President Yeltsin at length on Friday afternoon and I invited him to London. In principle he would like to come, there are a lot of things happening at the moment, we are looking at the logistics to see if it is possible on that particular date. But if he cannot come on 30 January I hope he will come at an early date, but the 30th is not yet finalised.
Prime Minister, it is your contention, is it not, that it is only the Conservatives who can manage these changes for Britain that you are going to discuss at the Security Council in the way that Britain needs. Secretary General, could you assess Britain’s future role in the United Nations and do you share any worries about a change of government?
The United Nations is cooperating with Great Britain and this is what is important for the United Nations.
Prime Minister, is it your belief that only the Conservatives can fulfil the proper role in the UN?
You heard the Secretary General’s reply, you heard what I had to say, this is not an occasion for that sort of remark.
Mr Ghali, could you answer this question in Arabic, if the Prime Minister does not mind. There is news today that there is an overall plan to solve the hostage dispute in the Middle East, do you have any comment on that?
No I have no comment, the United Nations is trying very hard to contribute to the release of the hostages, there are still two more hostages in the Middle East and this is one of the duties of the United Nations that my predecessor had played a very important role in this, and we intend to continue to do our best to release all the hostages in the Middle East and outside the Middle East also.