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BBC programs ten years after the Gulf War

The BBC has broadcast some programs relating to Iraq today:

An interview with Tony Benn and Khaled Al-Duwaisan, Kuwaiti Ambassador to
the UK, can be found on

A fairly long interview with Peter Hain can be found on 
An edited transcript from the FCO website is included below.

Per Klevnäs





Why, in the face of obvious crumblings of the UN sanctions against Iraq,
do we persist?

Well it is not actually. It is the United Nations Security Council
Resolution 1284 which will provide for sanctions to be suspended. I think
it is important we clarify the realities of the debate. Britain wants
sanctions suspended. I repeat, we want sanctions suspended. The difference
between us and the apologists for Saddam is that they want us to walk away
from Saddam, to allow him to terrorise the region again as he invaded Iran
using chemical weapons, as he inflicted chemical weapons on Kurdish

Other countries in the region want you to lift the sanctions and to stop
the bombing.

Other countries in the region want to work with us, as I have been doing
with Gulf Foreign Ministers for example, in persuading Baghdad to comply
with this new British initiated Security Council Resolution which could
see sanctions suspended within 180 days if, and only if, UN weapons
inspectors were allowed in to see what stockpiles of biological and
chemical weapons still exist. And, as I say, the difference between us is
that we want sanctions suspended in response for checking on his weapons
of mass destruction which could allow him to terrorise the region again,
as he did before sanctions were imposed, but has not done since. The
difference between us and the critics is they just want us to walk away,
abandon sanctions, abandon our military efforts, allow him to invade Iran,
allow him to invade Kuwait, as he repeated yesterday he would do; allow
him to lob missiles in to Israel, allow him to use chemical weapons on the
Kurds in the North. There is a kind of amnesia about Saddam’s brutality in
the region.

Hans von Sponeck, the former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator, and his
predecessor, have taken issue with almost everything you have ever said
about Iraq. You talk about the threats from his chemical, biological and
nuclear weapons but both the former United Nations Chief Weapons
Inspector, Scott Ritter and the current head of the inspections agency,
Hans Blix, have disagreed with you. They deny that Saddam is trying now to
rearm to do things that is against the UN resolutions.

Well I think you have probably misquoted Hans Blix because he is working
very closely with us and in fact I am due to see him in a week or so to
discuss how the arms inspectors can go back into Iraq. I don't think that
anybody denies that that weapons capability exists. But I think it is very
important we decide how we move forward. Everybody must persuade Baghdad,
as I have sought through Gulf Foreign Ministers in private discussions in
recent months, to say to the Iraqis if you signal a willingness to talk
about complying with international law and UN Resolution 1284, sanctions
can be suspended. Let's talk about the details of that, let's talk about
how the weapons inspectors can go about their work in a way that satisfies
everybody's sensitivities. Then we can get on a route for the sanctions to
be suspended. That could have happened at any time over the past year. 

The fact is the decisions are being taken out of your hands. What do you
have to say to the oil companies, for example, who are talking with

If they are seeking to invest in the current oil industry in order to make
sure that maximum production is achieved to get more oil out and more food
and medical supplies and other humanitarian relief in under the UN Oil for
Food Programme, then that is fine. If they are talking about future
business after Iraq complies with Resolution 1284, then that it is not a
problem either. I think we need to clarify that and we all need to
concentrate on the real picture which is bringing Saddam in to line with
UN Resolutions, seeing sanctions suspended as a result and making sure
that he doesn't terrorise the region again with his weapons of mass

Research Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq                  fax 0870 063 5022

Girton College,                 tel: +44 (0)79 905 01 905
Cambridge CB3 0JG               fax: +44 (0)87 016 96 390

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