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IRAQ

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The latest report from Ambassador Ekeus, Executive Chairman of the

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United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) makes clear that Iraq has so far failed to declare its past weapons of mass destruction programmes. UNSCOM highlights the lack of required information about chemical and biological weapons. It follows that we cannot be sure that all weapons have been eliminated. Until UNSCOM is satisfied that Iraq has made full declarations, there can be no question of relaxing sanctions.

A copy of Ambassador Ekeus' report has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the status in international law of limits currently imposed on Iraq's sovereignty, given that Security Council Resolution 1164 refers to a "commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of....Iraq; what is the status in international law of the current over-flying of Iraq territory; who is doing it, by whom is a count of it kept; and whether the numbers of these sorties reported by the government of Iraq to the UN Secretary-General are, to their knowledge, accurate.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: In imposing the prohibititions and restrictions on Iraq in UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 687, the Security Council acted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and the measures are thus binding on all member states by virtue of Article 25 of the Charter.

American, British and French aircraft patrol an area in northern Iraq north of the 36th parallel and an area in southern Iraq south of the 32nd parallel in support of SCR 688, each of these being an area in which there were and remain circumstances of extreme humanitarian need. Although the circumstances varied somewhat, the purpose was and remains the same, to monitor compliance with SCR 688, which demands that Iraq, as a contribution to international peace and security in the region, end the repression of its civilian population.

Each participating nation keeps a count of the missions flown by its own aircraft. A comparison of these records with the reports made by the Iraqis to the UN Secretary General could therefore only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions they have had with oil-exporting countries of the Gulf area about lifting sanctions on Iraq; what reports they have received on the same subject; what effect, in their estimate, would the lifting of sanctions have on the price of oil, and on the financial well-being of the various oil-exporting states.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are in close contact with many countries in the region about policy towards Iraq. There can be no question of lifting the oil embargo or any other sanction imposed on Iraq until that country is in full compliance with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions. It is therefore premature to speculate about the effect of any return by Iraq to the oil markets.

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Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the removal of Saddam Hussein from office in Iraq is now for them a condition of the lifting of sanctions on Iraq; and whether this requirement is present, or implicit, in any of the various relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and, if so, which.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The conditions for the lifting of sanctions remain those set out in relevant Security Council resolutions. However, we judge it unlikely that Iraq will be able to meet those conditions whilst Saddam Hussein is in power.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which UN Security Council Resolutions remain to be fulfilled by Iraq, given that Iraq will be better able to pay its debts when the existing sanctions are lifted; and what proportion of missing Kuwaitis do the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Kuwait expect Iraq to account for.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: At the six-monthly review of sanctions imposed on Iraq held on 14 November, the UN Security Council concluded that there were no grounds on which to lift the sanctions. The Council reached this conclusion after due consideration of Security Council Resolution 687, which formalised the ceasefire and set out the conditions for the lifting of sanctions. These conditions include fully accounting for all Kuwaitis detained by Iraq.

There can be no question of sanctions being lifted until Iraq is in full compliance with all the relevant Security Council resolutions.

ALGERIA: FOREIGN DEBT

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the statement by the Algerian Council of Ministers to the effect that "foreign debt was eating up 80 per cent of the revenues from (Algeria's) exports" is true and, if so, what effect they anticipate this fact to have on social stability and the prevalence of fundamentalism within Algeria.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Algeria's debt service due as a proportion of its exports was estimated to have risen to about 80 per cent. at the end of 1993. Following a Paris Club rescheduling in May 1994 and better than expected export performance, Algeria's debt service ratio for 1994 is now projected to have fallen to 45-50 per cent. It is expected to fall further once Algeria has secured comparable treatment on its commercial bank debt.

Stability in Algerian society is likely to be influenced by the performance of the economy as a whole and by other political factors. The initial reduction in the debt service ratio does not appear to have had any effect on the level of violence involving extremist Islamic groups in Algeria.

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NATO: COLLECTIVE ASSETS

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the "collective assets of NATO" (that) might be made available noted in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office quarterly report on arms control and security; on the basis of what kind of "consultations" in the North Atlantic Council would they be made available "for WEU operations undertaken by the European allies in pursuit of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy"; and whether the non-European members of the North Atlantic Council would be in a position to veto the use of the "collective assets", and if so in what circumstances.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The NATO Summit Declaration of 11 January 1994 announced NATO Allies' readiness to make available the collective assets of the Alliance, on the basis of consultations in the North Atlantic Council, for WEU operations undertaken by the European Allies in pursuit of their Common Foreign and Security Policy. Arrangements to give effect to this undertaking remain under discussion in NATO, in the context of work to develop the Combined Joint Task Force concept.

NATO's collective assets include communications, command and control, as well as airborne early warning and other facilities. The extent to which they were made available for any WEU Operation would depend on the outcome of joint consultations between NATO and WEU, including as necessary through joint council meetings, on how to address the contingency in question. All decisions taken by the North Atlantic Council are by consensus.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the "collective assets of NATO" noted in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office quarterly report on arms control and security that might be available to WEU include intelligence unilaterally obtained by the US from space.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The collective assets of NATO do not include intelligence unilaterally obtained by the US from space.

CIA: INFILTRATION BY SOVIET SPY

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the failure of the CIA to recognise over 11 years that it had a Soviet spy working in its midst resulted in the loss of British agents in the Soviet Union, Russia or elsewhere.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister in another place on 14 July 1994 at columns, 711–12. It remains the Government's policy not to provide information on the operations of the security and intelligence agencies.

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CHERNOBYL

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have seen a report in Global Security, the Journal of Medical Action, that 8,000 people in the Kiev area have died as a result of the Chernobyl explosion and 250,000 are disabled or seriously ill, that 25 per cent. of children are being born with defects and that two-thirds of Ukraine has been contaminated; and if these reports are factual, whether international action is being taken to assist in endeavouring to mitigate the consequences of the disaster and, if so, what part they are playing in such action.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Precise details of the effects of the Chernobyl accident are difficult to verify, and the claims in the Winter 1994 edition of Global Security are considerably higher than international estimates, particularly that of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the most widely accepted.

We have financed bilateral Chernobyl-related projects and support international activities in the region funded by the IAEA, the WHO and the European Union.


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