Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1988 Aug 6 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

Press Conference in Kuala Lumpur

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Press Conference
Venue: Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Around 1615 local time.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 719
Themes: Foreign policy (Asia), Northern Ireland, Terrorism, Transport

Prime Minister

I would not like to come anywhere near this area without seeing Dr Mahathir. Obviously we are very much interested both in the affairs of this region, which the main one at the moment is Cambodia and as I am going to Bangkok I value the advice from Dr Mahathir as to how he sees this, and of course the Foreign Minister here was present at the informal meeting in Jakarta, so we have had very good discussions upon that matter.

There are also a number of bilateral matters, as you know, concerning defence matters and air services, which we have discussed, and then quickly said how very much we look forward next year to the Commonwealth Conference being held here, usually some time in the autumn.

Now that is just a very brief thumb nail sketch, the talks were too brief, we could have gone on a lot longer but as always I am very grateful to have had the chance to discuss both bilateral [end p1] relations and regional affairs with Dr Mahathir. We look forward to seeing him in London towards the end of September when we shall continue the talks and have the pleasure of entertaining him at No. 10 Downing Street. [end p2]

Question

Was the question of the purchase of any Tornado fighters discussed?

Prime Minister

We did not. We had a very brief discussion about a defence contract but we did not ourselves get into detail. That is being negotiated between the two governments and negotiations continue.

Question

Prime Minister, can I ask you whether you discussed with Dr Mahathir the possibility of Britain getting involved in a peace settlement in Cambodia, for example, on the lines suggested by the Vietnamese foreign minister as the co-chairman of an overall peace conference?

Prime Minister

We did not discuss that particular matter. I think it is generally felt that the matter should in the first instance be taken forward through the United Nations. You will recall that on the last occasion in 1954, China was not then a member of the United Nations or as active as she is now in the Security Council and I think we would feel that it should preferably be taken forward with the United Nations.

But of course there is a long way still to go, as the Foreign Minister said to me, the important thing is that the talks should have taken place in Jakarta. That is a beginning, but there is still a very great deal to be worked out and I shall be able to talk further about it with Prince Sihanouk in the refugee camp. Er, what day is it today? I think it's tomorrow we're going there, yes. Other questions. [end p3]

Question

Prime Minister, in view of the latest IRA bombings, can you comment on your reaction to that. Are you not disturbed at the increasing pace of IRA activities?

Prime Minister

One is always disturbed when there is any new bombing, violence, killing, maiming of any kind. I can only make it perfectly clear to all people the world over that this is contrary to democracy everywhere in the world. These people have no respect for democracy, either north of the border, or south of the border, or anywhere. They are enemies of freedom, they are enemies of justice and they should be treated in that way.

Question

Can you elaborate for us on your discussions on the air services, whether Malaysia requested for more services rest of question inaudible

Prime Minister

Dr Mahathir and I have discussed air services before and I thought he and I had managed to get it sorted out. That was in days when British Airways was a nationalised industry. British Airways is now an independent corporation and I believe that if British Airways and Malaysian Air Services get together again and discuss matters further, I believe that they will be able to make some progress. [end p4]

Question

How would you described the present state of bilateral relations compared to the time when you came two years ago?

Prime Minister

They are very good, our bilateral relations. I see Dr Mahathir quite frequently. Obviously I take advantage when I am in the area to come and see him and we also try to see him whenever he is passing through London. The relationships are good and you know they should be, but they are.