Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1986 May 27 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (visiting Israel)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: King David Hotel, Jerusalem
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Peter Frost, IRN
Editorial comments: 0945-1050 was set aside for the press conference (and interviews?).
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 695
Themes: Defence (general), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Peter Frost, IRN

Prime Minister, is Britain reassessing the role of the PLO as a voice for the Palestinians?

Prime Minister

No. We are doing something much wider than that. What we are trying to do is find a new way through the Arab-Israeli age-old problem, to try to find a way in which negotiations can get started again, and a number of other countries are trying to do the same thing, and therefore, we must consider any way forward, including that of trying to find Palestinians, not necessarily the PLO, Palestinians who also would truly represent the interests of the Palestinian people.

Peter Frost, IRN

Last night, Madam, you met with a number of leaders from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Did you find any of those Palestinians willing to negotiate with the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinian people? [end p1]

Prime Minister

Well as you know, they included two people whose names had been put forward and accepted as people who could negotiate with King Hussein, so there were two people there who could have assisted in the negotiations. I made it perfectly clear that we want negotiations, that those who assist the King, stand with the King, in any negotiations must truly represent the Palestinian people and that is a fact we must consider. I also pointed out that we had been among the first in Britain to try to persuade the PLO to renounce terrorism, to recognise Israel's right to exist, and to recognise therefore the validity of the United Nations Resolution 242, and had the PLO done that, then we were prepared to receive two of their representatives in London.

The PLO were not prepared to do that at that time. There may come a time when they may, in which case there will be a change.

Peter Frost, IRN

Mr. Rabin seems to have rejected any idea of direct mayoral elections in the West Bank and Gaza. Do you believe that any serious progress can be achieved without such elections?

Prime Minister

I think there are two questions. One is a direct election of mayors. As you know, there was a direct election in 1976. And the other is choosing representatives of the Palestinian people to do negotiations. The two are different. The one could lead to the other, but there would be other ways [end p2] of finding true representatives of the Palestinian people other than by the direct election of mayors.

Peter Frost, IRN

If I can change the subject from the Middle East somewhat, although it does have some implications here, I understand that Sir Geoffrey Howe is in Washington. May we continue on a question vis-a-vis the extradition from the United States? Would this be feasible? Is there a feeling perhaps that Britain has maybe been taken somewhat for a ride by the Americans? That they do not really want to agree to the extradition of IRA terrorists?

Prime Minister

You know full well that the President and the whole Administration and many people have been working very hard indeed to try to get that extradition treaty through, because they believe that we fight terrorism wherever it occurs and whoever perpetrates it—so do I. The President and the Administration have been doing everything they can, and so have many people in the Senate and Congress, and I hope that that treaty will go through, because you cannot pick and choose a terrorist you fight the world over. You have to fight them all and I hope and believe that treaty will go through. [end p3]

Peter Frost, IRN

Finally, Madam, if I can turn to another matter of the arms limitation talks, I understand that the Soviet Union has offered Britain a limited sort of treaty, or a separate treaty, for arms limitation. Would it appear that the Soviets are trying to split the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation?

Prime Minister

That may be part of their objective. As you know, we stand firmly by NATO, which has been what has kept our peace with security in Europe ever since it was started, and we shall continue to be a reliable ally in NATO and we shall not be split from it.