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Hain, the BBC and today's Telegraph

Dear Folks,

Please find below :

A. an article from today's Daily Telegraph
B. the text of Peter Hain's speech on Gulf Security and the transcript of
his interview on the Today programme.
C. a transcript of Hain's interview on the today Programme (the Foreign
Office are so happy with this one that they've put it on their web-site)

Letters to the Telegraph should be e-mailed to
The BBC's complaints department can be contacted on 0207 580 4468
(Broadcasting House).

Best wishes,



Peter Hain in attack on French over Iraq sanctions
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
Daily Telegraph, 8th November 2000.

  BRITAIN made an extraordinary attack on French policy in the Middle East
last night, saying its weakening of international sanctions against Iraq was
"pretty contemptible".
Amid a flurry of "humanitarian" flights to Baghdad seeking to bring down the
10-year-old air embargo, Peter Hain, the Foreign Office minister responsible
for the Middle East, accused Iraq's sympathisers of prolonging the misery of
ordinary Iraqis by encouraging Saddam Hussein to be more intransigent and
avoid complying with United Nations resolutions.

Two flights have taken off from France, the latest leaving yesterday. Paris
argues that the international sanctions imposed against Iraq after it
invaded Kuwait in 1990 do not include an air embargo. Mr Hain told a meeting
of the Royal Institute of International Affairs: "Frankly, French policy in
Iraq has been pretty contemptible. It will put back the resolution of the

Mr Hain went on: "I think that the French have absolutely no illusions that
we do not welcome their dabbling in this matter." His public criticism of
France exposed the deep tensions in the West over maintaining a tough
sanctions policy in the face of growing opposition from Arab states and from
some European countries, especially as it has visibly failed to unseat

The row makes a mockery of Europe's professed desire to develop a common
foreign and security policy. It will ensure that Robin Cook, the Foreign
Secretary, will get a frosty reception when he visits Paris today. Mr Hain
has tried to throw back at Iraq criticism that the sanctions had inflicted
untold suffering, accusing the Iraqi government of wilfully denying food and
medicine to its people and saying Baghdad "plays politics with their

*The Egyptian foreign minister Amr Mussa said yesterday that Egypt and Iraq
had re-established diplomatic relations which were cut off during the Gulf



I welcome this opportunity to speak about Britain and the Gulf. It is
particularly timely as I have just returned from a further visit to the
region and was again struck by the amazing juxtaposition of the ultra-modern
with the traditional. The skylines of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, like a time-lapse
film sequence, appear to grow overnight. This is all the more extraordinary
when you compare photographs of the Gulf States now with the way they were
not so very long ago. And the dynamic growth of the infrastructure has been
accompanied by an equally dramatic shift in worldview. This is partly due to
oil wealth and easy travel, but also to the growth in instant communication,
the ubiquitous mobile phone, satellite television, the Internet, e-mail. The
wealth, regional influence, involvement in the global markets and oil
resources of Gulf states brings with them a responsibility to play an active
and stabilising role in world events and makes our continuing and evolving
relationship of paramount strategic importance.


In 1999 UK exports to the GCC countries were worth over £3.75 billion.
Imports were over £1.8 billion. It is our most important market outside the
OECD. The figures do not, of course, include invisibles. Our exports span
the spectrum: equipment for the oil and gas industry, construction, soft
furnishings, food, aircraft, vehicles, books. I am also told that our
Scottish expatriate communities there have little difficulty in tracking
down the odd haggis or two. The UK is also a major investor in the region
and over 86,000 British citizens live and work in the Gulf. The region
contains 64 per cent of the world’s known oil reserves and Britain’s Armilla
Patrol has maintained its presence in the Gulf ever since the 1980s. Our
allies in the Gulf welcome our presence as a symbol of our commitment to the
security of the region. It remains our largest military commitment outside


Britain has consistently defended the independence and territorial integrity
of our friends and allies in the Gulf, most recently when Iraq invaded
Kuwait in 1990. That commitment remains as strong as ever. All three
elements of our armed forces are in the Gulf. Our aircrews risk their lives
patrolling the skies above southern Iraq. Our sailors are involved in
activities to curb the illegal export of Iraqi oil. Our soldiers advise,
train and exercise with their counterparts from the GCC. This commitment
costs, politically, economically and tragically occasionally with lives. But
the security and stability of the Gulf is vital not only to the region but
also to the rest of the world.

Although the invasion of Kuwait was reversed, the biggest long-term threat
to the Gulf remains Saddam Hussein. He has demonstrated over and over again
his ambition to dominate the region and at the same time has shown a callous
disregard for the lives or welfare of his own people. Hundreds of thousands
died in a ten-year war with Iran, which achieved absolutely nothing. He
invaded and looted the country of his Arab brother and continues to refuse
to give any information on those Kuwaitis taken back into Iraq. Not only did
he develop weapons of mass destruction but also he has been prepared to use
chemical weapons against his own people. In recent months he has repeated
threats against Kuwait, insulted other Gulf rulers and continued to defy the
UN. I firmly believe that he remains determined to develop his nuclear
chemical and biological weapons capability, which could threaten the
countries of the region and beyond. He should be in no doubt, however, that
we remain equally determined that he should not succeed.

Of course we are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Iraq.
Last year we devoted eight months of painstaking diplomatic effort to bring
together the UN Security Council to pass UNSCR 1284 which represents the
collective will of the Security Council, and has the force of international

The resolution contained a raft of humanitarian provisions. Crucially,
resolution 1284 removed the ceiling on the amount of oil Iraq is allowed to
export to fund the purchase of humanitarian relief. Iraq’s oil reserves are
second only to those of Saudi Arabia. And recent increases in production
mean that Iraq is now back among the world’s top oil exporters with its oil
revenue now at an all time high of almost half a billion dollars per week.
All of this means that that over $16 billion will be available for the ‘oil
for food’ programme this year alone.

With this large amount of revenue available, one cannot help but ask why we
still see pictures of malnourished and sick Iraqi children - pictures which
rightly provoke our sympathy and compassion. There is absolutely no need for
these children to want or for them to suffer. So why do they? With the $16
million Saddam has available - three times the amount per head that every
Egyptian spends on food and medicine each year? It is an outrage that the
Iraqi Government wilfully denies food and medicine to those children and
plays politics with their suffering. It hopes that by doing so, it can play
on our emotions until we abandon the Security Council’s resolutions and lift
sanctions, leaving Iraq free to redevelop its weapons of mass destruction
and once more pose a threat to the region.

Contrast the situation with northern Iraq, where the same sanctions apply
but Saddam’s writ does not run. That is because in northern Iraq the UN is
implementing the ‘oil for food’ programme, not the Iraqi authorities. And it
is doing so in a manner designed to bring maximum benefit to the Iraqi
people. As a result, the programme is making vast improvements to people’s
lives. Life is better in the North than it was even before sanctions were
imposed. New homes and hospitals are being built. School attendances are up.
Minefields are being cleared. Food and medicine is being delivered. All this
could be happening in the centre and south of Iraq too. If only the
Government in Baghdad wanted it to.

The truth is that Saddam Hussein has no interest in putting his people’s
needs first. He chooses to reject offers of humanitarian assistance from
other countries additional to the ‘oil for food’ programme, including
assistance specifically targeted at children’s needs. And this at a time
when he is encouraging journalists and campaigners to come to Baghdad to
tour the children’s wards in its hospitals. It is a scandal that the doctors
cannot get the drugs they need. But the fault lies with the Iraqi
Government. They fail to order enough medicines under the UN programme. Then
they fail to deliver them. We have even recently discovered hundreds of
emergency asthma inhalers consigned to Iraq under ‘oil for food’ on sale in
Lebanon for the benefit of the Iraqi regime and its stooges. Right now there
is over $5 billion in a UN account available for civilian goods if Iraq only
ordered them.

I am extremely impressed with Hans Blix, the Executive Chairman of the new
arms inspection body, UNMOVIC. His UNMOVIC is a new, independent body made
up of UN professional staff drawn from a wide geographical base. There is no
hidden agenda. We have been encouraging those who have contacts with Baghdad
to urge Iraq to take the genuine opportunity on offer here for afresh start,
and to work with Dr Blix and his staff. The Iraqi Government is fond of
claiming that it has given up its weapons of mass destruction and has
nothing to hide. If that is so, then it has everything to gain by allowing
UNMOVIC in. I call on it to do so. I must say at this point that we have
been very encouraged that some of our friends in the Arab world are working
with us in our efforts to encourage Iraq to co-operate.

Were Iraq to allow UNMOVIC into Iraq today sanctions could be suspended in a
matter of months. We want to see that happen. Suspension would offer Iraq an
enormous advantage, opening the door to the reintegration of Iraq into the
international community and allowing economic regeneration to begin. This is
a real opportunity to which, I repeat, we are wholly committed, and we urge
Iraq to take it. For as long as it does not, there can be no progress on
sanctions. And Iraq must be left in no doubt that there is no room for
initiatives outside the resolutions. To suggest otherwise only encourages
Iraq in its intransigence, thereby prolonging sanctions even further.

That is not what we want. We want to see sanctions lifted as soon as
possible. We want a law-abiding Iraq, respecting its international
obligations and pursuing good relations with all its neighbours. We
recognise the historic and cultural importance of Iraq in the Arab world,
and its enormous potential. We understand the strong desire in the Arab
world for it not to be excluded indefinitely - but the fact is that the
present regime’s refusal to co-operate with the UN and meet its obligations
and its repeated challenges to the international community are the major
obstacle to this.

Compliance would bring major benefits. Governments, international financial
institutions and companies would be ready to help Iraq rebuild its economy
and infrastructure. The institutions would, I am sure, look creatively at
the help that might be given. Many of the thousands of patriotic and
talented Iraqis who have fled Iraq would return. Iraq could return to its
rightful place in the international community. Regional stability would be
put on a sounder foundation. That is an aim, which I believe we should all


In all my travels around the Gulf and the Middle East, I have heard plenty
of people express their sympathy with the Iraqi people and I agree with
them. But I have never heard anyone in any position of authority show any
sympathy for Saddam Hussein or his regime. Quite the opposite. They distrust
him and despise what he has done to the Iraqi people. They even tell me that
their support for the Iraqi people does not suggest support for Saddam. I
have to say that however unwittingly, there are those who are giving great
comfort to Saddam by undermining sanctions and challenging the authority of
the UN. Some have become instruments of Saddam’s manipulative propaganda.

So-called humanitarian flights to Baghdad in contravention of the relevant
UN Security Council resolutions do little to bring humanitarian help to the
Iraqi people. They do a lot to support Saddam’s policy of sowing discord
amongst the members of the UN and undermining international law. We do not
object to flights that go through the proper procedures, and most that do so
are approved by the 661 Committee. We acknowledge that there may be
different understandings of what is required under the resolutions, but the
answer is not a free for all which only gratifies Saddam’s long term aim of
achieving sanctions lift without compliance on his part. We are working with
our partners on the Security Council to find a mechanism agreed by all in
accordance with existing resolutions which will allow bona fide flights to
Iraq. In the meantime I would urge those who are tempted by commercial gain
or gesture politics to consider seriously the damage to the credibility of
the UN that they are risking.

The same applies to those who turn a blind eye to the smuggling of Iraqi
oil. Revenues from the sale of Iraqi oil under the ‘Oil for Food‘ programme
go to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq. Revenues from oil
smuggled out of Iraq go straight into the pockets of Saddam Hussein and his
cronies. Those who ignore this trade or encourage it when they could take
action to prevent it are contributing to Saddam’s ability to ignore his
international obligations. With no control over the illegal revenue, there
is a strong risk of it being channelled into Saddam’s arms programme,
conventional or otherwise. Those who tolerate his actions now may have cause
to regret them later.

For those who don’t know, it is instructive to see how the illegal oil
revenues are spent. None of it is spent on food or medicine. It is spent
instead on luxury items for those closest to Saddam, whose loyalty he wishes
to retain. It is spent on building new palaces and theme parks. For example,
Saddam City is a massive luxury resort complex for Saddam’s cronies contains
stadiums, an amusement park, and 625 homes for Saddam’s favourites. Some
reports even suggest the resort has a safari park with deer and elephants
which graze on lush vegetation grown with the latest irrigation systems. For
his birthday this year, Saddam held spectacular celebrations. His birthday
cake was three metres high and its ingredients could have fed 100 orphans
for 30 days. In a typical month Iraq imports over 300 million cigarettes,
28,000 bottles of whisky, over 115,000 litres of beer, 40,000 litres of
vodka and 19,000 bottles of wine. By our estimates, illegal exports of Iraqi
oil outside the UN programme will reach an estimated half a billion dollars
this year. We and other members of the Security Council are making serious
efforts to limit this trade. I want to encourage all the States in the
region to do the same.


Iran has traditionally been seen by Gulf countries as a threat. Historical
suspicion of Iran cannot be overcome overnight. But I believe that the only
way to address these concerns is through dialogue and constructive
engagement. Experience has shown the benefit of being able to raise our
concerns, however difficult and sensitive, quietly and directly and well
away from the forum of megaphone diplomacy. Three years ago it would have
been hard to imagine the progress that we have made in our bilateral
relationship. This has been made possible by the reformist policies of
President Khatami and Iran’s desire to reintegrate with the international
community, including her Gulf neighbours. I believe that President Khatemi
recognises that it is not in Iran’s interests to provoke instability in the
Gulf or the wider region. However, the path of reform has not been smooth in
Iran and there are many who continue to argue against engagement. But I
believe that it is right to respond to the overwhelming majority of the
Iranian people who have time and again at the ballot box shown their support
for reform. The reintegration of Iran into the international community can
only be to the further benefit of regional stability. It is encouraging to
see a number of the countries in the Gulf responding to Iran’s overtures.


The recent terrible clashes between Israel and the Palestinians are another
major source of potential instability in the region. The easy availability
of CNN, Sky News, BBC World and satellite television in the Gulf mean that,
for the first time, ordinary men, women and children in the Gulf are seeing
live, round the clock coverage of the violence. And they are appalled. In
the past it was possible to filter their access to what was happening, and
therefore to an extent control their reaction. This is no longer the case.

There have been unprecedented demonstrations in, amongst others, Saudi
Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain. Moderate Gulf Governments are being put in
positions where their natural inclinations and aspirations for peace in the
Middle East are being challenged. There is a risk that they will have to
adopt a more radical stance than they would want, because of pressure from
the streets. This in turn can only add to the circle of rhetoric and
violence and risk instability spreading. Saddam Hussein’s posturing as a
champion of the Palestinians is a further unsettling ingredient. No one
should be taken in by that. Saddam’s disregard for his own people makes him
a wholly unreliable and dangerous partner for the Palestinians. True to form
he is cynically manipulating their own sufferings in an attempt to
rehabilitate himself with the rest of the Arab world.

I would like to pay tribute to the Arab League Summit in Cairo, which backed
the peace process. But history has shown that peace between Israel and the
Palestinians will not be easy to achieve. It came tantalisingly close before
this recent descent into violence. But despite the renewed commitment on 2
November to implement the Sharm Agreement, we remain close to the brink. A
further upsurge in violence could take us over the brink and into more years
of instability, terrorism, economic downturn and suffering. Too many people
have died.

Britain supports Palestinian rights to self-determination, including the
option of a state. However, any Palestinian state declared in defiance of
Israel and outside negotiations would be severely handicapped.

Britain has been working to encourage the parties to end the violence and
return to the negotiating table. In contacts with the Israelis, Palestinians
and Arab states we have sought to concentrate on the way forward rather than
apportioning blame for recent events. We have throughout worked closely with
EU partners, the US and the UN Secretary-General.

The UK played a leading and constructive role in helping to shape United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1322 adopted on 7 October, and the EU
statements of 9 October in Luxembourg and 13 October in Biarritz. We have
made statements appealing for an end to violence and urging restraint. Robin
Cook visited Israel, the Occupied Territories, Egypt, Syria and Jordan from
11-13 October for intensive talks with regional leaders as well as with the
UN Secretary-General and the EU High Representative. I also visited Egypt on
16-18 October.

There is a role here for our friends in the Gulf. Continuing violence and
instability in the Middle East risks spreading. It is also holding back the
social and economic development of the whole region. I believe that there
will be a peace dividend. New markets will open up and the concerns of
potential investors allayed. It will not just be those the parties to the
Peace Process that will benefit. The Gulf countries need to exert any
influence they have to avert further bloodshed.

Lebanon and Syria also hold keys to peace and have improving relations with
the Gulf. We should not underestimate Israel’s resolve to defend herself. We
should all urge Syria and Lebanon to show restraint and curb the activities
of Hizbollah and others whose activities are opposed to peace. Iran should
do the same.


There are, of course, those who regard protection and promotion of economic
interests as being incompatible with promoting human rights. But we live in
a global community that needs universal values. Creativity and innovation,
which are so necessary for a modern, knowledge-based economy, flourish in
societies, which make full use of the resources of their people across the
board. We support human rights, transparency and accountability for other
people because these are the values we demand for ourselves. Increasingly we
are able to work on human rights in close co-operation with the countries of
the region, whether bilaterally or with those on the UN Commission on Human
Rights. Not by shouting, but by dialogue. There has been progress, the
establishment of consultative councils, the formation of human rights
committees, and the increasing rights and involvement of women in public
life. I believe that together we can improve the human rights situation not
only in the Gulf, but also throughout the world.

We will continue to work together with all our friends across the Gulf for
peace, justice and prosperity.



Foreign Office Minister, Peter Hain, is making a big speech today about
Iraq. It is a bit of a dead end this policy isn't it? I mean we drop the odd
bomb, we keep the sanctions in place and Saddam Hussein goes on persecuting
his people?

What is the alternative? You see the critics of sanctions effectively play
into Saddam's hands by complaining about various effects and of course it's
not a perfect regime, but Britain wants to see the sanctions suspended.
That's why we have spent 8 months negotiating in the United Nations for the
Security Council Resolution 1284 which would provide for sanctions to be
suspended within 6 months.

What would have to happen for that to take place?

Within 6 months of Hans Blix’s new arms inspection team going in and
checking on the biological, chemical and nuclear capability that Saddam
undoubtedly has, checking whether that is still operative, then sanctions
could be suspended. And effectively what the critics are saying is walk
away, turn your back on the Kurds in the north who are being inflicted by
Saddam with chemical weapons and attacks, turn your back on the Shia in the
south, turn your back on his neighbours, whom he invaded. And people talk
about the deaths of children in Iraq but what about the deaths of the Kurds;
what about the deaths of the Iranians; what about the deaths of the Kuwaitis
as a result of Saddam's aggression externally on his neighbours and
internally on his people, which has not happened to anything like the same
extent under the sanctions regime?

Well look at some of the things that were reported in these Foreign Office
documents that appeared in the newspapers last week - 8 prisoners apparently
executed in October for defacing murals of Saddam Hussein, 30 prostitutes
beheaded in a clean-up last month and with their heads left on the doorsteps
of their homes, a man's tongue cut off because he'd slandered Saddam
Hussein? The man is continuing to persecute his people with all the sort of
vigour that he did before, isn't he?

Yes he is, although he's not been able to do that on the Kurds in the north
and the Shia in the south and that's very important. He is a brutal dictator
and I find it astonishing that people end up effectively apologising for him
and playing to his propaganda. Really what the critics of sanctions should
be doing is joining with us and pressuring Saddam to accept the United
Nations and international policy and the rule of law internationally and
allow the arms inspectors in and get the sanctions suspended. If we all join
together then actually Saddam would find that he had no allies in the
international community - British critics included - and he would have to
comply with United Nations policy. Sanctions could then be suspended and
Iraq could move forward.

But the fact is that this has gone on for a decade and there's no sign of it
having any impact on him whatsoever.

Why is he, then, so desperate to get the sanctions suspended, because
there's $24 billion of oil wealth under the control of the United Nations
that he'd like to get his hands on, to re-arm himself to inflict tyranny in
the region and on his own people again, which he has not been able to do
under the sanctions regime. I'm not saying it's been a perfect regime,
sanctions rarely are, but he's not been able to mount the kind of aggression
on his neighbours nor attack the Kurds in the north or the Shia in the south
in the way that he did with impunity for the previous 10 years.

Perhaps we should at least entertain the possibility that there are other
ways to go about this?

That's why we've engaged with the Arab states, as I did last week in the
Gulf region on my visit there, in order to try and persuade them to engage
with Saddam who they are having a dialogue with, to say look, the future for
you, the future for your people and the future for the region is seeing
these sanctions suspended as United Nations Security Council Resolution 1284
provides, which Britain more than anybody else was instrumental in
negotiating. There is a new way forward. What we should do is join together
and encourage Saddam to take it.

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