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My MP, Sidney Chapman has put a few written questions(fairly watered down ones, I'm afraid) to Peter Hain. He got the following replies, which included the claim by Hain that no reliable malnutrition figures exist for the centre/south of Iraq.
The UN FAO/WFP report released in September is therefore by implication dismissed as unreliable, though with a typical failure to produce any evidence why this should be so.
Best wishes, Tim
Written Answers 13 NOVEMBER 2000 Iraq Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the UN arrangements to ensure that goods imported into Iraq under the oil-for-food scheme are for the agreed purposes.  Mr. Hain: The UK Government does all it can to ensure that goods imported into Iraq under UNSCR 986 are used for agreed purposes. Our experts scrutinise all contracts carefully to ensure that they fall within the terms of the relevant UN resolutions. We frequently discuss monitoring of Oil for Food goods in Iraq with the office of Iraq programme and, where goods are of concern, ask for specific in-country monitoring. Of particular concern are goods identified by UNMOVIC as of potential use in weapons of mass destruction programmes. We continually call for the Iraqi regime to allow UNMOVIC into Iraq to verify Iraq's compliance with its obligation to halt its weapons of mass destruction programme. Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of children in Iraq who are chronically malnourished and the proportion of the total number of children this represents.  Mr. Hain: There are no reliable figures on child malnutrition in the centre and south of Iraq. Despite UN efforts, the Iraqi regime has refused to cooperate with a group of independent experts appointed by the UN to prepare a comprehensive report and analysis of the humanitarian situation in Iraq. In the meantime the UK continues to advocate and support initiatives through the oil for food programme to better target the UN's humanitarian effort to help the most vulnerable in Iraq. This has already improved the situation on the ground. In northern Iraq, for example, where the UN rather than Iraqi authorities run the humanitarian programme, infant mortality is now lower than before sanctions were imposed.