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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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin//radio4/today/listen/audiosearch.pl?ProgID=979630989 A fairly long interview with Peter Hain can be found on http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin//radio4/today/listen/audiosearch.pl?ProgID=979630482. An edited transcript from the FCO website is included below. Per Klevnäs --------------------------------------------------------------------- URL: http://www.fco.gov.uk/news/newstext.asp?4580 LIFTING SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ: SADDAM'S CHOICE EDITED TRANSCRIPT OF AN INTERVIEW BY FCO MINISTER OF STATE, PETER HAIN, FOR BBC RADIO 4, LONDON, TUESDAY 16 JANUARY 2001 INTERVIEWER: Why, in the face of obvious crumblings of the UN sanctions against Iraq, do we persist? PETER HAIN: 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 Iraqis. INTERVIEWER: Other countries in the region want you to lift the sanctions and to stop the bombing. PETER HAIN: 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. INTERVIEWER: 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. PETER HAIN: 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. INTERVIEWER: 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 Baghdad? PETER HAIN: 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 destruction. -- Research Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://www.casi.org.uk fax 0870 063 5022 Girton College, tel: +44 (0)79 905 01 905 Cambridge CB3 0JG fax: +44 (0)87 016 96 390 England -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk