Kohl puts pressure on Britain

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The Independent Online
LONDON - British officials said a threat by Chancellor Helmut Kohl to forge a 10-nation European unity if Britain and Denmark failed to ratify Maastricht within six months was part of the public campaign waged by the rest of the EC to press the two countries to ratify, writes Annika Savill.

Mr Kohl had privately made it clear to Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, that the other 10 member states would not go ahead without Britain or Denmark. Therefore, British officials said, they would not interpret Mr Kohl's remark as a hard and fast deadline. 'We expect to go ahead as 12,' a government official said. 'We expect to ratify the treaty. We'll do it as soon as we can.'

Mr Kohl told reporters during a visit to New Delhi: 'The European Community will go ahead to pursue European unity with 10 nations.' He added: 'I hope and trust that ratifications will come from all countries within six months. In case they don't, we will go ahead anyway.'