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Prime Minister's statement

I forward the following extracts from the Prime Minister in the House of
Commons yesterday, related to sanctions.  The Prime Minister's language
concentrates on the need for, for example "full compliance with UN
resolutions."  Never do words pass his lips that refer to the
circumstances in which sanctions will be lifted.

I also forward the contributions of Tony Benn, Tam Daylell and George
Galloway, and the Prime Minister's responses.

His intial statement:

We have no quarrel with the people of Iraq. On the contrary, we support
the desire of the overwhelming majority of them for freedom from Saddam
Hussein. They find themselves in a desperate position. I have no doubt of
the genuine suffering of many, though not, of course, the elite and those
who keep in them in power. We do what we can through our aid
programme. Under the oil for food arrangements, the Iraqis can import as
much food and medicine as they want, and I hope that we will hear no more
echoes here of cynical and hypocritical Iraqi propaganda about this. If
Saddam Hussein wants to import more, he can do so freely. If he wants the
sanctions position to change, the solution is in his hands through
fulfilment of his obligations. 

in reply to Menzies Campbell, the Prime Minister said

The sanctions are, of course, related to compliance. Saddam knows that,
which is why the issue has always been in his hands. He can determine the
matter, if he is prepared to come into line with the UN resolutions in
their entirety.

Gerald Kaufman asked: Although he has understandably dealt today with the
consequences of the Iraqi attempts to fail to conform to the United
Nations Security Council resolutions on weapons inspection, will my right
hon. Friend confirm also that there is no prospect of sanctions being
lifted until Iraq complies with not only the weapons resolutions but the
whole range of UN resolutions? 

The Prime Minister: It is essential that everything that the United
Nations has set out should be implemented. I agree entirely with my right
hon. Friend and welcome his support for ensuring that those Security
Council resolutions are implemented in full. I emphasise that that
must occur because Saddam Hussein has been trying to develop weapons of
mass destruction. 

John Wilkinson asked: Does he envisage any extension of sanctions to
prevent Saddam Hussein building up his conventional weaponry, which is
already fearsome enough? 

The Prime Minister: The sanctions regime is tied to a series of things
that must be done by Saddam Hussein. If we carry out all the things that
are in the various UN resolutions, we shall have secured the objectives
that we have set ourselves in respect of armaments, and I believe that we
shall do so. Those resolutions amply justify the action that we are

Dale Campbell Savours asked:  May I draw my right hon. Friend's attention
to the Foreign Secretary's comments last week in the House, when he
conceded that illicit revenues secured in breach of United  Nations
sanctions--from oil supplies from Iraq to Iran through the straits
to the south and through Kurdistan in the north--are funding Saddam
Hussein's whole operation in Baghdad, particularly the Republican Guard?
Why will not the United Nations carry a resolution to enforce a blockade
effectively to cut off those oil revenues? When the money is cut off,
Saddam Hussein will fall. 

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is right. Together with our allies and
friends, we are looking at how we can tighten the regime. He is right to
say that there has been seepage from the sanctions regime. Any seepage
undermines the efficacy of the sanctions. We hope that we can take steps
to tighten that regime. 

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): I agree with my right hon. Friend that this
is far from over--but will it ever be over until such time as there is the
prospect of sanctions being lifted? Does my right hon. Friend accept the
glimmer of hope that was given by Kofi Annan, that part of a
package would be that at last, after seven years, there would be the
prospect of sanctions being lifted? 

Secondly, last Sunday Albert Reynolds and I sat in the office of Jaakko
Ylitalo, who is the acting director of UNSCOM. He said that UNSCOM had
visited 496 sites and that there had been no violation in any of those
sites. Furthermore, he talked in terms of a three-month time
limit. Could a full look be given at this very complex area of precisely
what UNSCOM has found and what it hoped to find? 

Finally, to use the felicitous phrase of my righthon. Friend the Member
for Manchester, Gorton(Mr. Kaufman), might it not be so bad an idea if a
delegation of preferably Arabic-speaking people--senior officials--went to
Baghdad not to get their noses brown but to talk in terms of dignity to
the proud northern Arabs whom, let us never forget, we were content
to provide with arms throughout the 1980s, when we hoped that they would
not be defeated by the Ayatollah and militant Islam? This is a very
complicated area. Please send some kind of delegation to talk to them
before we think of hurling down missiles. 

The Prime Minister: I respect the fact that my hon. Friend has different
views on these matters. First, I say to him that we have made the position
very, very clear to the Iraqis again and again. They know what they have
to do to get sanctions lifted. They have to do what they agreed to do at the
end of the Gulf war. The fact that sanctions are still in place is a
measure not of our obduracy but of the fact that they have not implemented
what they agreed to do at the end of the Gulf war. 

As for UNSCOM, it is there to do a job of work that it knows is not yet
complete. There is no doubt at all that there are still weapons 
unaccounted for. I listed in my statement--I did so deliberately--the vast
arsenal of weapons that has been uncovered.   No matter how much we would
wish for Saddam Hussein to be a different type of person from
what he is, the fact is that he is a brutal dictator who has used chemical
weapons against his own people. He has repressed and murdered thousands of
his own people. The country is run by an elite guard of people who are
well fed, well looked after and well paid while the rest of the population
is under repression. When people oppose him, this is a
man who seeks a way to murder them. He is not a man in whom we can have
any belief that he will do the right thing, except under duress. 

As for the Iraqi people, we constantly make the point, as do Arab
countries, that the quarrel is not with them. However, we must not be
naive about this. There is no way Saddam Hussein will offer us any way
forward unless he knows that if he does not do what he has agreed to do
force will follow. I am afraid that that is the inescapable conclusion of
the past few years. 

Mr. George Galloway (Glasgow, Kelvin): I am for rooting out these hideous
weapons wherever they are, whether they are the ocean of chemical weapons
that the United States of America dropped on the people of Vietnam, or the
biological weapons in the Israeli arsenal, some of which we read about at
the weekend, which strike a new low even in that dreadful alchemy. 

In 1956, a less distinguished predecessor of my right hon. Friend stood at
that Dispatch Box and asked who would chain 

    "the mad dog of Cairo". 

It was a precursor to a devastating Anglo-Israeli attack on Egypt, with
cataclysmic results; this time we were minutes away from an equally
cataclysmic mistake. Does the Prime Minister really think that the kings
and sheikhs at Doha were speaking for the Arab people--speaking
for the Muslims of the world? I hope that he does not; I hope that he
knows better than that.  Will the Prime Minister answer one question? Why
is it that Israel, which illegally occupies three Arab countries, is
allowed to have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, but no
Arab Muslim country is allowed to have the same thing? 

The Prime Minister: In trying to compare Israel to Iraq, my hon. Friend
simply underlines the misguided nature of his own arguments. Quite apart
from the fact that Israel is a democracy, we cannot see Saddam Hussein in
the same light at all. At the beginning of his remarks, my hon. Friend
said that he was in favour of making sure that the weapons of mass
destruction were destroyed. That cannot be done unless there is the threat
of force to back up the diplomatic efforts. 

As for speaking for the Arab people, I believe that those to whom my hon.
Friend referred were speaking for the Arab people, but I agree that there
is a large measure of disagreement in the Arab world--all the more reason
for us to be out there saying with one voice, "This is not
a quarrel with the Arab people. It is not a quarrel with the Iraqi people.
It is a quarrel with Saddam Hussein." After all, the biggest single
immediate threat that Saddam Hussein poses is to the Arab nations of the

Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield): Is the Prime Minister aware that although
the world is united in its hostility to the regime of Saddam Hussein and
its desire to have the United Nations resolutions carried out, there is no
possibility--and the Prime Minister should admit it--of
carrying through the Security Council a resolution authorising force
against Saddam? He has not even attempted to do so. If an operation, once
suspended, were launched now without further notice, the effect on the
middle east, as the former Prime Minister, the right hon.
Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major) pointed out, would be absolutely
catastrophic for the influence of the United States and Britain in that

If force were used to change the regime in Iraq, which President Clinton
has hinted at and the Prime Minister has now confirmed, that would put us
totally outside the realm of legitimacy in international law and the
United Nations charter. 

The Prime Minister: I can say two things to my right hon. Friend. First,
we believe that the legal basis for action is secure because of the UN
resolutions that have been passed and the need to enforce them. 

Secondly, let us examine what has happened over the past few days. I
cannot believe that anyone seriously thinks that the Iraqis, who two weeks
ago had withdraw all co-operation and effectively prevented UNSCOM from
performing their duties, would have today allowed the inspectors back in
unconditionally--they say--to do their work normally, without let or
hindrance, except under duress and the threat of force. It is simply not
credible that they would have altered their position unless they were
threatened with military action. 

I say to my right hon. Friend and those in the international community who
are hesitant about the use of force that it is no good willing the ends
unless we will  the means. It is absolutely no good saying to the outside
world that we want the UN resolutions on eliminating weapons of mass
destruction to be carried through if we are at the same time saying that
we will never contemplate the use of force to ensure that they are
carried through. It is perfectly obvious from what has happened that if we
took that position there would be no elimination of weapons of mass
destruction and we might as well render those UN resolutions of no effect
at all. 

It simply cannot be overstated--we have learnt this on many
occasions--that when we are dealing with a dictatorial, brutal and corrupt
regime such as that of Saddam Hussein, diplomacy works only if it is
backed up by the credible use of force. 

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