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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 taking. 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 world. 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 area. 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html