The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmhansrd/cm001107/debtext/01107-03.htm#01107-03_wqn1 Iraq 7. Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East): If he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Iraq and those items which the Iraqi Government are currently allowed to import.  12. Mr. Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Hall Green): If he will make a statement on the impact of sanctions on the humanitarian situation in Iraq.  The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Peter Hain): We continue to take the lead in alleviating the suffering of the Iraqi people at the hands of a ruthless dictator who cares nothing for their welfare. Under Security Council resolution 1284, the oil for food programme will provide more than $16 billion for the Iraqi people this year alone, paying for a wide range of 7 Nov 2000 : Column 150 civilian imports from food and medicine to equipment to improve water and sanitation facilities, to spare parts for the oil industry. Mr. Anderson: Will my hon. Friend confirm that the solution to sanctions is in the hands of Saddam Hussein himself by his taking the comparatively simply step of complying with the--[Interruption.] Mr. Speaker: Order. An hon. Member is censuring me for the way in which I call Members. I will not allow that, and the hon. Gentleman should take himself from the Chamber. Mr. Anderson: Will my hon. Friend confirm that the solution to sanctions is in the hands of Saddam Hussein by his complying with the relevant United National resolutions in respect of informing the international community of his weapons of mass destruction? My hon. Friend has mentioned the sums available to Saddam Hussein, but to what extent is that being spent for the benefit of the people or on self-aggrandisement and palaces for the dictator himself? Mr. Hain: I agree with my hon. Friend. Britain wants to see sanctions suspended, but the only vehicle for achieving that is the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1284. In return for allowing in arms inspectors--a new team headed by the widely respected international diplomat Hans Blix--who will check on the capabilities in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, sanctions could be suspended within a matter of months. We should all unite--critics of sanctions as well as supporters of the United Nations policy in international law--in achieving that, rather than playing Saddam Hussein's game and allowing him to score cheap propaganda victories by humanitarian flights. We should also bear in mind that, while his people have been suffering over the years, he imports thousands of bottles of whisky, wine and beer and cigarettes by the million, and surrounds himself in obscene luxury. Mr. McCabe: I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) that Saddam Hussein must bear considerable guilt for the suffering experienced by the poor people of Iraq, but does my hon. Friend the Minister believe that it is right for Britain to pursue an open-ended sanctions policy against Iraq, which results in suffering for innocent children and others, while simultaneously pursuing a preferential trade arrangement with the authorities in Iran? Is my hon. Friend aware of the extent to which the mullahs in Iran are acquiring weapons of mass destruction? Mr. Hain: We are concerned about Iran's capability in weapons of mass destruction, especially its acquisition of large numbers of missiles, and we continue to press the Iranians on that matter. But I do not think that my hon. Friend will compare the Iranians' relations with their neighbours and with their own people with Saddam Hussein's record, which is uniquely brutal. I must disagree with my hon. Friend on sanctions. Our commitment to sanctions is not open-ended. We want to see the sanctions suspended. We spent eight to nine months at the United Nations in New York achieving the new resolution which provides for that very opportunity. 7 Nov 2000 : Column 151 All that is required is for Saddam Hussein to sign up to that resolution and the sanctions could be suspended within six months. Everyone should work together to achieve that objective. Mr. Menzies Campbell (North-East Fife): Is not it obvious that policy towards Iraq is based on containment by utilising the deterrent effect of credible military force? What possible contribution do non-military sanctions make to that policy? They do grievous harm to the ordinary people of Iraq, they have no effect on Saddam Hussein, his whisky or his brutality, they give him an enormous propaganda advantage and they cause grave disquiet throughout the Arab world. Ten years after the end of the Gulf war, is not it time for the United Nations to lift the non-military sanctions? Mr. Hain: I respect the right hon. and learned Gentleman's record on the matter, and his broad support, which I acknowledge, for the policy of the Government and the United Nations. However, $16 billion of oil for food money is now available to alleviate and end the suffering of the people of Iraq. That sum, per Iraqi, is equivalent to three times the amount that each Egyptian spends on food and medicine each year. It is a massive amount of money, and we must work to ensure that Saddam Hussein stops blocking it and allows all of it to reach his people. On the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point about targeted sanctions, lifting commercial sanctions could allow the entry of dual-use goods, and allow Saddam Hussein to re-equip his infrastructure and rebuild the weapons of mass destruction, which he has used against his people in the north--the Kurds--and his neighbours. Sir David Madel (South-West Bedfordshire): The Minister said that sanctions could be suspended provided that United Nations weapons inspectors were allowed back into Iraq. Will he confirm that that is the unanimous view of the Security Council? Mr. Hain: It is the policy of the Security Council, which Britain will work extremely hard to implement. There is no hidden agenda; if we can get Saddam Hussein to comply with admitting the arms inspectors, we shall work tirelessly to implement the full Security Council resolution. I am confident that we shall be able to achieve that. Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire): What methods do we use to harm Saddam Hussein that do not harm his people? Mr. Hain: We implement sanctions that contain his ability to threaten his people. He has done that repeatedly, for example, by inflicting chemical weapons on the Kurds. He has also threatened his neighbours by invading Iran and Kuwait. From oil smuggling--equivalent to a small proportion of his total oil production--he has been able to surround himself with a considerable security blanket and amass considerable wealth. However, like Slobodan Milosevic, all dictators learn that they cannot survive for ever. 7 Nov 2000 : Column 152 In retrospect, our sanctions policy will be perceived to have worked to achieve our objective. Mr. Richard Spring (West Suffolk): Does the Minister agree that Iraq's humanitarian predicament must be viewed in the light of its treatment of 605 mostly Kuwaiti prisoners, including women and students? What pressures can be brought to bear to get the Iraqis to provide information, even information such as whether those prisoners are dead or alive? Does he agree that humanity and decency demand that? Mr. Hain: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making that point. I pursued it with the Kuwaitis when I visited Kuwait last week. Hundreds of Kuwaiti families are in the dreadful position of simply not knowing what has happened to their relatives who have disappeared. The Iraqis have shown no accountability. We continue to take all opportunities to press them to deal with the issue, and to discuss with Ambassador Vorontsov his work on behalf of the United Nations to resolve the problem. _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com. Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at http://profiles.msn.com. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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://www.casi.org.uk