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I've sent a letter to my local MP with a copy of the EDM and this response to PMQ's. I've also sent copies to the MPs who asked the questions, and the PM. Thought you people on the CASI list might like to see it too. I've put my comments in [*]. Sorry that its a bit long, and sorry that in text-only i can't make my comment stand out more. best wishes Ronan ********************************* Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): On Monday night, some 5 or 6 million of our fellow citizens watched a programme produced by John Pilger, showing horrendous scenes of what was happening in Iraq. Can we be happy to pursue a policy for nine years that has such an effect? The Prime Minister: No, we cannot be happy to pursue such a policy at all. We are not happy to pursue it, but the way to get the sanctions lifted is for Saddam Hussein and his regime in Iraq to come into line with UN resolutions, and stop trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. [Why does Mr Blair insist on punishing an entire nation because of one man? Does he or does he not believe in Universal Human Rights? This government rightly respected the human rights of a man suspected of torture, and 'disappearances'. Why isn't this respect being extended to the people of Iraq?] This Government have taken the lead in the United Nations in trying to find a better method of ensuring that food and medicine get through to the Iraqi people. [I question the truth of this claim; this Government has blocked numerous shipments of medical supplies to Iraq, through both the UN Security Council and through the DTI and FCO.] The opportunity exists for Saddam Hussein to feed his people and to provide them with medicines. He has billions of oil dollars that he could use for that purpose, but he does not. [What opportunity does Saddam Hussein have to feed his people? The amounts that are made through oil-for-food are not enough to run a country on, especially since something like 33% goes towards reparations to Kuwait and UN administration expenses. And why is the British Government leaving it up to Mr. Hussein to feed his people. It is illogical to say the man is an insane dictator (as Government sources have said in the past) and then rely on the insane dictator to feed the people of Iraq. I would be grateful if Tony Blair could explain his logic here.] He uses the money to prop up his regime, and spends it on weapons of mass destruction. [I would like to see some facts and figures regarding this. The fact that we have no inspectors in the country means that we don't know what weapons Iraq possesses. Even if we did have inspectors, they are given the impossible task of proving a negative, namely ensuring Iraq has been 100% disarmed. Does Mr Blair dispute Scott Ritter's statements that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction? And why is Iraq the only country to suffer in this way? Many other countries have weapons of mass destruction, and some of these others have even used them. For example, USA dropped the first atomic weapon, USA and UK use Depleted Uranium and indiscriminate bombing, and sanctions themselves are now being used as a weapon of mass destruction. There is an inconsistency and hypocrisy in UK policy towards weapons of mass destruction.] If my hon. Friend wants to help the people in Iraq, I urge him, as I have urged him often, to help put pressure on the Iraqi regime and Saddam Hussein to fulfil their humanitarian obligations. The way to end sanctions is for them to come into line with the United Nations resolutions. If they do that, no one will be more pleased than the Government. [Again, Mr Blair is trying to reason with a madman, and the Iraqi people suffer for it.] Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North): Is it not unfortunate that the person who made the programme that 8 Mar 2000 : Column 1006 has been mentioned and which was broadcast on Monday night minimised the responsibility of the criminal dictator of Iraq for the suffering of the people there? In acknowledging the necessity for sanctions, is it not important to try to find ways in which to assist the children who urgently need medicine, while bearing it in mind that the criminal dictator has never shown the slightest interest in the people who live in that country? The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. If Saddam Hussein co-operated with United Nations resolutions, money could go into Iraq to feed his country; the sanctions would be lifted and there would be no difficulty. However, he refuses to co-operate with the inspectors of weapons of mass destruction or to get money to his people through the oil for food regime. It is a tragedy; what is happening in Iraq to children and their families is terrible, but the answer is to ensure that Saddam Hussein comes back in line with international law. If he does not, the money will go to him, not to families in Iraq. It will be spent on weapons of mass destruction and we will be back where we were a few years ago. [No-one is suggesting that military sanctions should be lifted. The main concern is a humanitarian one. Furthermore, Saddam Hussein's weapons from before the Gulf War came from British suppliers under the Tories, which the labour leadership at the time did not speak out about.] Instead of producing a programme that presented only one point of view, the makers of Monday night's programme should understand that the international community is desperate to get help to families in Iraq, but that we cannot do it at the expense of allowing Saddam Hussein to develop weapons of mass destruction. [It cannot do so because of UK and US delegates to the UN blocking contracts for medicines destined for Iraq.] -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi