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Iraq News from the Commons

Yesterday (Thursday 17th Feb) Tam Dalyell MP attempted to get a government statement on recent the resignations in the UN. Here is his exchange with the Leader of th House, Margaret Beckett: Source: Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): May we have a statement on the resignation on matters of principle and policy, particularly towards the children of Iraq, by the distinguished international civil servant, Mrs. Jutta Burghardt? She is the third international civil servant who has been in Baghdad, seen the situation at first hand and then decided to resign, following the Irishman, Denis Halliday, and another German, Hans von Sponeck. When such people, who are close to the problem, resign on matters of principle, ought there not to be some explanation from the Government and the feeling that policy should be reconsidered? Mrs. Beckett: The whole House knows of my hon. Friend's deep interest and concern in these matters and his sympathy for those who are affected by the problems that have arisen in Iraq as a result, of course, of the actions of the Iraqi Government. 17 Feb 2000 : Column 1108 As to whether we should seek a statement in the House, the lady is, as my hon. Friend rightly says, an international civil servant. She is an employee not of the Government, but of the United Nations, and the policy to which she objects says that Iraq must face sanctions unless it complies with international demands to disarms. That is an international policy supported by many Governments. There is, mapped out in resolution 1284, a clear path out of sanctions for Iraq and its people, if only the Iraqi Government would take it. Although I understand and sympathise with my hon. Friend's concern, which I presume also lies behind the resignation, the answer is in the hands of the Iraqi Government. ** In the meantime, EDM 252 now has 24 signatures, the latest additions are Mohammed Sarwar (Labour, Glasgow Govan) and Plaid Cymru Leader Dafydd Wigley; it has now been signed by MPs of three different parties. Peace, Sean

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