Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1988 Dec 3 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for TV-AM (Rhodes European Council)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: Castle of the Grand Knights, Rhodes
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Gerry Foley, TV-AM
Editorial comments: Between 1430 and 1630.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1133
Themes: European Union (general), Foreign policy (International organizations), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU), Law & order, Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

When you told Mr Haughey that in your view the present extradition arrangements were not working satisfactorily, firstly did he accept that argument and secondly did he give any indication that he was prepared to change anything?

Prime Minister

I think that Charles Haugheyhe would agree that they are not working satisfactorily, otherwise we should not have had this problem, but let's face it, Ireland would not have had this problem, the Republic of Ireland would not have had this problem at all if it had not been for the Belgian Government going against the decision of their courts. The decision of their courts was to extradite, the Belgian Cabinet decided not to but to deport to the Republic. And so all of a sudden the Republic had this problem bounced upon it. [end p1]

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

Do you in a sense feel slightly sympathetic for the problems caused for Dublin by the action of the Belgian authorities?

Prime Minister

I recognise they had the problem suddenly put in their lap. I obviously think it could have been dealt with very much better than it has. The two Attorneys, one should back the warrant of another, that is cooperation, that is the normal thing and when you are dealing with matters with which people are charged with grievous offences, you expect everyone who is interested in upholding the rule of law to take that person into custody under a warrant so that you can then properly decide whether or not he should be extradited.

No-one was saying you had to decide whether to extradite in a few days. You cannot do that, but you must have the person in custody under a warrant before that consideration can take place.

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

Has the whole incident in any way affected your confidence in the long-term future of the Anglo-Irish Agreement?

Prime Minister

The Anglo-Irish Agreement is there. I obviously made my views very clear and my very very deep feeling in the fact that we feel let down. [end p2]

We are the targets of terrorism, we the British people and the Northern Irish people, and we have suffered a great deal and we just hope that all governments who believe in democracy will do their utmost to help to bring these people to justice so that their guilt or innocence can be decided in a court of law.

So we are entitled, both being the targets of these and our soldiers, policemen, civilians having suffered grievously, to expect the speedy concerned help of all other governments.

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

The Unionist leaders have consistently warned you that you cannot trust Dublin on these matters. Are you now more inclined to accept those arguments from Unionist quarters?

Prime Minister

I think we have to get procedures in which we both have confidence and which can be seen to work and I think that the Charles HaugheyTaoiseach will be turning his attention to that because he I think is seeing that they do not work and that undermines confidence in the battle against terrorism and I do not believe he wishes to undermine that confidence. [end p3]

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

Can the Belgian authorities do anything at this stage to redeem themselves in your eyes, to improve relations between London and Brussels again?

Prime Minister

No, no. Confidence and trust takes a long time to build up. We had got it. In the Heysel matters and in these matters the police worked very closely together, the prosecution services worked very closely together, the courts, the Court of First Instance in Belgium found for extradition and then the Court of Appeal, in our case the courts found for extradition so our Home Secretary extradited and then all of a sudden a problem came with the Belgian Cabinet.

The cooperation between the police forces, all of the other people, was extremely good and we were just amazed at the decision of the Belgian Government.

Yes it has undermined confidence. You do not rebuild confidence again very quickly, particularly when your own people are the target of terrorism and particularly when it is only a few months ago that one of our soldiers was murdered going through Ostend. [end p4]

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

On the broader issues involved, when you spoke to Chancellor Kohl about his meeting with Mr Gorbachev, did you agree on any strategy for your own forthcoming meeting with President Gorbachev?

Prime Minister

Oh no. The strategy does not vary, you do not suddenly alter your strategy as you know. We firmly support Mr Gorbachev in the reforms he is trying to bring about and we make it clear we are supporting him. We think they are greatly to the advantage not only of the people in the Soviet Union but to the wider world.

I shall look forward to hearing just exactly how he feels things are going because when you try these great endeavours it is often the difficulties which emerge first but the prize at the end, the greater freedom and a different law to that to which they have been accustomed, much more akin to a rule of law, the prize is very great and I am sure that he will try to take it to its full conclusion.

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

On the Middle East do you welcome the United Nations' decision to move to Geneva so that Mr Arafat can be heard in person? [end p5]

Prime Minister

Yes, I hope that Mr Arafat will be pressed on that very complicated communique. I hope that he will be pressed to make it quite clear whether or not he actually accepts Resolution 242 and 338, as they stand, and not subject to a lot of others.

I hope he will be pressed to make it absolutely clear that he accepts Israel's right to exist behind secure borders, as he accepts the right of all other states in the region to exist.

I hope he will be pressed to make it absolutely clear that violence is renounced as a way forward, not just renounced in certain territories, but renounced as a way forward.

Gerry Foley, TV-AM

Apart from the Ryan case, you seem to regard this as to have been a successful Summit?

Prime Minister

I think it has been a good Summit. I think it has been a successful Summit. I confess it has had a lot more argument about it than I expected. I thought that it would be a much gentler Summit than it has been but I felt that one or two decisions, you know when you get those communiques people try to put up a little amendment in a couple of lines or even half a line which alters the whole meaning and you have to watch like a hawk to see that you are not bounced, and we were not bounced.