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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the best answer I can offer the noble Lord, Lord Elton, is to commend to him the report of Dr Blix, which is very careful, understated and reasoned. One finds a good deal of material there about what has been the failure. Fundamentally, United Nations Resolution 1441, which, I repeat to noble Lords, was the "final chance"I stress that I am quoting and that this is not politicians' glossrequired not, as Dr Blix rather attractively said, simply acquiescence in process but positive proactive co-operation. That is what he has not had. There has been no agreement, for instance, that U2 flights can overfly Iraq; that would be enormous benefit to the inspectors. There has been no agreement for a time about helicopter visits and there
Lord Glentoran: My Lords, would the noble and learned Lord be good enough to answer more fully the last question of the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire? It concerned what happens after the war, where our responsibilities will lie, and whether there are any commitments in terms of the United Kingdom's role in this regard.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the noble Lord is quite right; I do not believe that I did the question sufficient justice. The Prime Minister and President George W. Bush discussed questions about the situation after the conflict. This is plainly an issue of real importance. Discussions are continuing. We find an element of an answer in the Statement in which we give a guarantee of territorial integrity. Noble Lords will not be surprised to learn that DfID has contingency plans and that a vast humanitarian effort will be required. I cannot say that the plans are entirely concluded; if they were, noble Lords would be surprised and rather disappointed, because this situation is developing constantly. I take the point implicitly made by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran: there is no purpose in limiting our horizons to any immediate attack if that becomes an unfortunate necessity. After the attack will be our historic responsibility.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, is the noble and learned Lord aware that I and certainly some others regard war as the very last resort? Some of us are puzzled about why diplomatic efforts are not made by the United Nations, the United States and the United Kingdom to try to prevent war not simply through the inspectors but by diplomatic means; we should like to have an answer. Will the noble and learned Lord also comment on the statement made by the Secretary of State for Defence on yesterday's Parliament programme, I believe, that Britain would be preparing to use nuclear weapons? The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, shakes his head but that is what Mr Hoon said; I listened to his words and saw the programme. Bearing in mind that the inspectors have said that there is no trace of Iraq having any weapons, under what circumstances would such weapons be used?
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, there are two aspects to the questions of my noble friend. First, is war the last resort? Plainly, yes. Secondly, have diplomatic efforts been used? Plainly, yessince 1991. Saddam Hussein has been in breach of his international legal obligations since 1991. He took on those obligations as a necessary precondition to the end of the Gulf War. I stress that that was 12 years ago. If my noble friend says that we should have done more by diplomacy, I gently remind him that the Prime Minister was bitterly criticised for having the courage
The Secretary of State for Defence said that in the most extreme circumstanceswhich he is not contemplatingand consistent with international law, we are entitled to use such means as are available to defend the security of this country. After all, a paramount duty of any government is to secure the safety of its citizens. What the Secretary of State saidit bears reading with careis no more than a statement of international law and the rights that that gives to sovereign states.
Lord Sandberg: My Lords, I am glad that the Prime Minister did not forget to mention in the Statementif in passingthe problem of North Korea. That problem scares me much more than anything else. I believe that the noble and learned Lord will agree with me that President Bush cannot be a policeman to the world. Next time the Prime Minister talks to the President, will he suggest that the real country to deal with North Korea is China, which is next door to North Korea and close in relationship, as we all remember from the Korean war? We should be trying to widen the number of nations that come with us in seeking to prevent future terrorism.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I entirely agree with the noble Lord. The situation in North Korea is significantly worrying. This matter does not involve simply the references in the Statement; noble Lords will be aware of the Prime Minister's Statement in the Commons last week, which did not meet with universal approval from those who did not pay any attention to what he was saying. The noble Lord is right to say that the situation in North Korea is deeply worrying. We cannot avoid dealing with Iraq because of other dangers. The noble Lord is right to say that the United States cannot be the policeman for the world. That is why the whole cast of British foreign policy since 1997 has been to follow the United Nations routesuccessfully, so far. Again, the noble Lord rightly says that we have to engage other large countries in what used to be called their spheres of influence. China is onein the North Korean context, I entirely agree.
On general multilateralism, I shall not repeat the list of statesmen and heads of government whom the Prime Minister consulted within the past few days before going to see President Bush. He will be continuing those efforts when he sees M Chirac tomorrow.
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, I have two rather small questions about the way in which this House copes with the unfolding crisis. First, some of us have been asking for many weeks now for an additional dossier to improve on the original dossier, which we considered not very effective in making the case about why Iraq is involved in global terrorism and
Secondly, I believe that the noble and learned Lord said that it would be best if, when we have a debate in this House, it should be on the same day as the debate in another place. Will he reconsider that? This House has an enormously powerful input to make to the broader scene, to defence issues and to geographical and geopolitical issues, which may not get a proper airing in the Commons. If we have our debate on the same day as the Commons, it will be lost completely in the media; if we have it on another day, we could make a genuine contribution that matches what this House can give to such debates.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, neither of the noble Lord's points is a grumble. I was simply reciting what I had said in the letter to the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, as it would have been impolite not to have done so. I pointed out that it is normal to co-ordinate closely the involvement of the two Houses. Normally we would not promote a debate in the Lords unless we proposed to do the same in the Commons. I shall bear in mind what the noble Lord said. Many neutral observersnot those sitting on the red Benchesfelt that the quality of our full debate on Iraq was very high indeed. I make no further comparison.
On whether it would have been helpful for your Lordships, including the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, to have had prior notification, that is a reasonable point. I had the same notification as the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde.
Lord Chalfont: My Lords, does the noble and learned Lord agree that it is now important that the Prime Minister should continue upon the courageous and clear-sighted course that he has taken up to now in trying, as best he can, to ensure that the problem is solved through the United Nations, while making it
Two matters that have been raised in the course of this debate concern me. One is that we should consider not only American interests, but also British interests. Surely we should consider interests far wider than those. The wider world shares the values and beliefs that we in this country hold to. The second point concerns the statement that in this conflict we must ensure that we uphold not just western values. Surely it is precisely western values, as we understand them, that are under threat from international terrorism and it is those values that we are trying to uphold.
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