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1 Sept 2003 : Column 903Wcontinued
|1||2448 hrs||Very high|
|2||35 days||Very high|
|3||610 days||Very high|
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the United States Government first made complaints of alleged corrupt practice by BAe Systems regarding the possible sale of Gripen jets and the decision by the Government of the Czech Republic to buy supersonic aircraft to his Department; and which United States administration department made this complaint. 
Mr. Caplin: A number of individuals in the United States Administration have raised allegations against BAe Systems since the US industry decision in May 2001 not to continue participation in the Czech Republic's fighter aircraft competition. However, we have not been able to find, nor have we been given, any evidence whatsoever to substantiate the allegations and this has been made abundantly clear to the US Government.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many meetings have been held since 1 January 1999 between Ministers in his Department and the United States Administration in which allegations of corrupt practice by BAE Systems regarding the possible sale of Gripen jets and the decision by the Government of the Czech Republic to buy supersonic aircraft were discussed; when each of these meetings was held; where each of these meetings was held; and which United States Administration Departments attended each of these meetings. 
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his department first received allegations of corrupt practice by BAe Systems regarding the possible sale of Gripen jets and the decision by the government of the Czech Republic to buy supersonic aircraft. 
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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department first received allegations of corrupt practice by BAe Systems regarding the supply of a package of Hawk and Gripen jets to the Government of South Africa. 
Mr. Ingram: There are no port facilities now under United Kingdom military control. The local Iraqi council administers the very limited port facilities at Basra and Stevedore Services, a United States contractor, administers the single major facility at Umm Qasr.
Mr. Ingram: In advance of the start of combat operations around 135,000 Linear Metres and 6,300 Transport Equivalent Units of supply were transported by sea to the Gulf. In addition, around 29,500 Air Load Equivalent Short Tonnes of supply were transported by air.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what inquiries his Department is pursuing following the tattooing of an Iraqi child with Nazi insignia following the Paras v. Locals football match in Baghdad. 
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken by British forces in Iraq to secure known nuclear sites from looters and terrorist groups seeking to obtain nuclear materials and technology. 
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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what communications the military policemen killed in Iraq on 24 June had with other UK forces during the time they were under siege; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the written statement given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 2 July 2003, Official Report, columns 2022W. There is still an on-going investigation into the incident and it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage. Once the investigation is complete I will make public as many of its findings as possible, subject to operational and other security constraints.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Central Fife (Mr. MacDougall) of 30 June 2003, Official Report, column 41W, on Iraq, if he will (a) examine reports of Iraqi deaths from eyewitness correspondents embedded with the military in the invasion of Iraq, (b) request the Coalition provisional authority to make a survey of deaths reported in hospitals in Iraq, from 19 March to 1 May, arising from military conflict and (c) make the estimating of Iraqi military deaths part of the aim of interrogation of Iraqi military commanders in custody. 
Mr. Ingram: We take our obligations under International Law and the Laws of Armed Conflict to avoid collateral damage and excessive military casualties very seriously. Any loss of life, particularly civilian, is deeply regrettable, but in a military operation the size of Operation Telic it is also unavoidable. Through very strict rules of engagement, the use of precision munitions and the tactical methods employed to liberate Iraq's major cities, we are satisfied that the coalition did everything possible to avoid unnecessary casualties. We do not, therefore, propose to undertake a formal review of Iraqi casualties sustained from 19 March to 1 May.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with United Nations representatives regarding the use of UN troops in Iraq; and what proposals he has to involve the UN in the maintenance of law and order in Iraq. 
Mr. Ingram: Not all United Kingdom Service personnel currently deployed in Iraq and Kuwait have access to air conditioned accommodation, but all have access to air conditioned welfare facilities. Work is progressing to provide further air conditioning in accommodation areas throughout the area of operations.
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Mr. Ingram: As of 27 July, the United Kingdom and Multi-National teams have destroyed 323,149 items of explosive ordnance, of which 211,550 were small arms ammunition. Non Government Organisations have recovered 180,353 items of explosive ordnance, of which 58,744 have so far been destroyed. The rest are in storage awaiting disposal. It is not possible to quantify the number of items cleared in terms of percentage. It is estimated that it will take between two and three years to completely clear the United Kingdom Area of Operations of explosive ordnance.
Mr. Ingram: There is no means of knowing how many Iraqi children have been killed while dismantling Iraq's munitions. Coalition forces have, however, made significant efforts to educate local populations about the dangers of unexploded munitions. The United Kingdom and other coalition Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams in the UK's area of responsibility have completed over 1,000 disposal tasks and destroyed over 100,000 individual munitions. The Theatre Mine Risk Education (MRE) plan has been developed with the support of UNICEF and the ICRC. A poster and leaflet campaign has been carried out; head teachers in Basrah have been briefed; and military teams are delivering Mine/UXO awareness training to primary and secondary schools daily, using material approved by the ICRC.
Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group has provided seven Royal Engineer EOD Teams, three Royal Air Force EOD Teams, two Royal Logistic Core Heavy Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD)/EOD Teams and 12 Royal Engineer echelon Troops equipped with heavy lift capability and four tonne vehicles who can operate with EOD teams for logistic disposal of larger EO caches. In addition, the Ammunition Inspectorate has provided two IEDD/EOD Teams.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people (a) captured and (b) still interned by British forces in Iraq are classified as enemy combatants; if he will list the other categories of people held by British forces and the number of persons in each category; whether any people captured were moved outside the country, and for what reasons; and what rights any person held in a category other than enemy combatant has. 
Mr. Ingram: Those persons captured by British forces who had the status of enemy combatant were entitled to prisoner of war status and to be treated as such. As of 21 July 2003, the United States is holding one prisoner of war and 36 other persons captured by British forces,
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who are either suspected of committing criminal offences or are interned where necessary for imperative reasons of security in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. No prisoners captured by British forces in Iraq and transferred to US custody have been transferred out of Iraq. The rights of persons detained who are not classified as enemy combatants are contained within the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what co-operation has taken place between the United Kingdom and the United States of America on investigations into deaths by friendly fire during the Iraq conflict. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 3 June 2003]: Both incidents of 'friendly fire' that occurred during operations against Iraq involving United States and United Kingdom forces are the subject of Boards of Inquiry, which have now convened. We are liaising closely with the US and a British Liaison Officer is in place on the US Board of Inquiry. We will be looking to ensure that both countries absorb any lessons identified.
Mr. Ingram: Fourteen percent of United Kingdom fatalities in Operation Telic were caused by friendly fire. The information in respect of all other casualties is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the types of vehicles occupied by British soldiers killed by friendly fire during the Iraq War; and to what extent they employed the combat identification equipment used by UK forces. 
Mr. Ingram: Tornado GR4 aircraft, a Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank and a Scimitar CVR(T) armoured vehicle were subject to fatal friendly fire incidents in Operation Telic. All three vehicles were fitted with the correct combat identification equipment.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps were taken to secure (a) the Oil Ministry, (b) other ministries and (c) other official buildings in Iraq from looters and arsonists during the invasion and immediate post invasion period in Iraq. 
Mr. Ingram: The Oil Ministry is located in Baghdad and has never fallen within the United Kingdom area of responsibility. Since the liberation of Iraq, UK Forces have been working to restore security through a number of different means including patrols, vehicle check points and static guarding. Certain sites within the UK area of responsibility are currently being guarded by UK Forces including key government buildings and public record offices. Overall, our approach is to re-establish local police and guard forces that will initially be trained and overseen by UK forces.
Mr. Hoon: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23 June 2003, Official Report, column 616W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith).
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Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which areas of Iraq have yet to be visited by weapons inspectors in their search for weapons of mass destruction; and if he will make a statement. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what use was made of British military (a) field hospitals and (b) medical resources to treat Iraqi civilians; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caplin: During operations in Iraq all wounded have been treated equally regardless of status or nationality. Between 19 March and 12 July 234 Iraqi civilians were treated in United Kingdom Field Hospitals, but we do not record centrally instances of local treatment by medical personnel in fielded forces.
Mr. Ingram: Regular patrolling by United Kingdom RAF aircraft has been ongoing in Iraq since 1991 and was taking place on 2 January 2003. These patrols were being conducted without Iraqi permission. UK ground forces entered Iraq on 20 March 2003.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the number of (a) Iraqi civilians and (b) Iraqi military personnel (i) killed and (ii) injured as a result of Operation Telic. 
Mr. Ingram: Whilst the Ministry of Defence has accurate data relating to the number of United Kingdom service personnel that have been killed or injured during Operation Telic, we have no way of establishing with any certainty the number of Iraqi casualties.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which units did not receive their full complement of desert kit before the beginning of hostilities in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: By the beginning of hostilities on 19 March, 3 Commando Brigade had received all its requirement of personal desert equipment, 16 Air Assault Brigade had received 90 per cent., and 7th Armoured Brigade had received 50 per cent. Where necessary, allocation was prioritised according to greatest operational need. Details of individual unit allocations are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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Mr. Ingram: During planning for military operations in Iraq the number of United Kingdom staff deployed to CENTCOM fluctuated regularly. On average about 30 personnel were deployed for planning purposes at any given time.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many prisoners held by British forces in the Gulf have been identified as (a) Fedayeen Saddam forces and (b) nationals from countries other than Iraq. 
Mr. Ingram: Decisions will be taken as to what will be published from each investigation into deaths by 'friendly fire' once these investigations are complete. We will make public as many of the findings as possible, subject to operational and other security constraints.
Mr. Caplin: Army logistic units in Iraq formed part of both the tri-service Joint Force Logistic Component and 1 (UK) Division which provided support to United Kingdom personnel in the Gulf. The role of logistic units in any operation is to ensure the sustainability and regeneration of combat power.
The logistic unit's achievements include the development of theatre infrastructure and the successful provision of combat service support to deployed units during the war-fighting phase. Post conflict, the Joint Force Logistic Component has undertaken a number of successful projects including the building of a fresh water pipeline from Kuwait to Umm Qasr, the opening of the port of Umm Qasr, the establishment of the Umm Qasr to Basrah railway and the distribution of humanitarian aid and assistance.
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Mr. Caplin: The looting following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime is judged to have been largely opportunistic criminal activity. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that there are small elements in Iraq who have been encouraging politically motivated crime.
Mr. Ingram: The UN report quoted raised concerns about the looting of warehouses in Basra. Although United Kingdom forces have a presence at the Ministry of Trade warehouse in Basra, this is for administrative purposes and they are not responsible for security, which is a matter for local Iraqi security guards. UK forces do still conduct routine patrols in the area.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there is a need for increased British Army presence at the Iraqi Ministry of Trade warehouse in Basra which the British Army shares with the World Food Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross. 
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what protection British forces have provided to the World Food Authority warehouses in Basra; and what future plans the Department have to provide such protection. 
Mr. Ingram: United Kingdom forces do have a presence at the Ministry of Trade warehouse in Basra, however this is purely for administrative purposes and they are not responsible for local security which is a matter for the local Iraqi security guards. UK forces conduct routine patrols in the area and do not intend to increase their presence.
Within the UK Area of Responsibility, since 22 May 2003 twelve customs officers have been re-employed at the port authority at Umm Qasr. These officers served in Iraq customs prior to the conflict. Customs offices are currently located at Umm Qasr, Safwan and Basra. There are further customs officers at Basra who can be called forward to the port if additional support is required. The officers currently employed have received some refresher training from our Royal Military Police.
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Mr. Ingram: The 521 Specialist Team Royal Engineer (Water Development), under the co-ordination of a civil infrastructure team, has been engaged in supplying and repairing equipment to allow the restoration of the Iraq water system. This has included the provision of essential water treatment chemicals, the supply and redistribution of generators, pumps and treatment works, provision of temporary water, co-ordination of pipe repairs, arranging fuel deliveries to cover shortfalls, and provision of security at some water treatment plants and to pipe repair teams.
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