Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1985 Sep 12 Th
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for Jordanian TV (JBC)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Samir Mutani, JBC
Editorial comments: 1730-1830 MT gave interviews for her Middle Eastern trip.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 1192
Themes: Trade, Foreign policy (International organizations), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA)

Samir Mutani, JBC

Prime Minister Thatcher, this is your first official visit to Egypt and Jordan. Talks with leaders of the two countries may, therefore, cover a wide spectrum of issues. What, in particular, are those issues which you hope to discuss during the visit?

Prime Minister

Well, I hope first to go to both those countries to indicate support for the moderate Arab cause in the Palestinian issue. That is very important.

Secondly, I just want to see for myself and to make assessments for myself of how things are there and what the views are there, so that I can, in my time, let President Reagan know how I feel about it, which is very important.

And thirdly, of course, I want to discuss trade and defence issues.

So I think that when we are discussing both with President Mubarak and with King Hussein of Jordan there will obviously be particular problems of the Arab-Israel question which has gone on for so long. There will also be the other problems of the area you know.

There will be the famine in Ethiopia and the problems in Sudan. There will of course be one or two problems perhaps that we are all encountering with Libya. There will of course be the world [end p1] economic problems. There will of course be the general East-West problems.

So you are quite right: we discuss both the problems of the region, because the region matters tremendously to all of us, and then the wider problems as well.

Samir Mutani, JBC

Indeed, you have met actually His Majesty King Hussein and President Mubarak during their recent visits to London and one would expect that the peace process must have been one of the main topics discussed with the two leaders.

Can we consider that your visit, in relation to what you said now, to both Egypt and Jordan, is another opportunity to have further talks on the issue or is there …   . or is it part of a new European initiative?

Prime Minister

No, it is not a European initiative, a new European initiative or indeed a European initiative. It is really to take stock of where we are now and consider why things have perhaps gone a little bit more slowly than we wanted them to go, because we had high hopes earlier that we might get negotiations going rather faster than has happened. So I want to talk to both the President and the King and just take stock and see what we can do to help things along and I stress again, to show support for the moderate Arab viewpoint. [end p2]

Samir Mutani, JBC

Yes, well actually, this is a point I want to come to, Mrs. Thatcher.

So apart from bilateral talks don't you think, Mrs. Thatcher that now a major international initiative, perhaps led by Britain, the European Community or even the permanent members of the Security Council, in support of those forces of moderation you mention in the Middle East, is called for and fairly urgently?

Prime Minister

Well, you know, some of the great big major international initiatives tend not to be the ones that work. They have a great deal of publicity; there are lots of speeches made; but they are not always the ones that seem to get results.

Now, there are initiatives underway through President Reagan and I think that we should see what those can yield. King Hussein has also been very very courageous in the stance he has taken, and President Mubarak has been extremely helpful. I would really rather see if we can pursue those directions and bring those to a successful fruition than embark on something new.

You know, sometimes people think that if you get everyone together everything will turn out for the best. That is not the way that international politics works. They all, if you are not careful, just put up their own particular viewpoints, and what you want to try to do is to get some movement and improve things at the margin on each occasion.

So let us try to pursue what is already going on. [end p3]

Samir Mutani, JBC

Mrs. Thatcher, the observer cannot help but recognise British close involvement in Egypt's economic development. Are you hoping to establish new ground for British industry and industry now that there is a new Egyptian Cabinet geared to solving Egypt's economic problems?

Prime Minister

Well, Egypt has very considerable economic problems to solve, as have many other countries.

Yes, of course, I will discuss matters of trade and matters of aid, because we have tried to be helpful in some directions with Egypt and I shall be opening the waste water scheme and I will be discussing other matters as well both in ordinary civilian trade and possibly in defence too.

But you know, we in Britain have a very genuine interest in both Egypt and Jordan. We go not only to discuss trade and defence. We go because we are genuinely interested in what is happening there. Genuinely interested in achieving greater success and genuinely interested in solving these problems of the region which played such a large part in our history as well.

Samir Mutani, JBC

In Jordan, British firms play an active role in Jordanian development projects. Would you anticipate new agreements there that might increase this role during your visit? [end p4]

Prime Minister

Doubtless, we shall discuss a number of new projects and see how we can take them forward. I do not want to mention specific ones, but I know that quite a number may come up.

Samir Mutani, JBC

Well, finally, Mrs. Thatcher, Britain has long and historic close relations with both countries, as you have just mentioned.

Are you looking forward to your first official visit to Egypt and Jordan?

Prime Minister

I am looking forward to it tremendously. I really am a little bit surprised that no Prime Minister, British Prime Minister in office, has visited Jordan and I am trying to remedy that.

Of course, King Hussein comes here quite frequently and I always see him and we always talk about the latest developments.

We have also been very fortunate in that President Mubarak has come several times. He is also extremely interesting. He always has some interesting contribution to make.

I think Winston Churchill came in 1943, I think to see President Roosevelt in Egypt, but apart from that, no British Prime Minister in office has been to Egypt. That is astonishing!

So I am looking forward to being that first British Prime Minister in both cases, but I know that I shall enjoy the visit. I know that I shall enjoy seeing a great deal of the people of Egypt and also of Jordan and that I shall come back very much [end p5] refreshed and with a much better personal view of how things are because to see for oneself does make a difference.

Samir Mutani, JBC

Well, Mrs. Thatcher, we wish you a very successful and pleasant journey.

Prime Minister

I am looking forward to it tremendously.

Samir Mutani, JBC

Thank you very much.

Prime Minister

Thank you.