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The Prime Minister: That last issue did not come up at the summit, but we have raised it with the US Government. I have said what I have said about it already. Obviously, that situation cannot continue indefinitely, although it is complicated by the fact that information is still coming from the people detained there. I cannot say any more than that. That information is important.
It is important that Iran realises the seriousness of the international community's intent on this issue. The IAEA must be able to carry out its work without any conditions. No one is threatening military action in respect of Iran, but it must understand that the whole of the world communitythere was complete unanimity on this at the G8does not find it acceptable that this nuclear weapons programme continues to be developed in Iran. Both on that issue and in relation to the issue of terrorism and its support for terrorists, it has to understand that we are very serious about the unacceptability of these activities. We have worked very long and hard to have a proper dialogue with the Iranian Government. I welcome that and I think that it is good to do so, but it has to happen on the basis of being absolutely upfront with them about the concerns that we and the whole international community have.
In relation to President Bush's speech in Europe, I thought that, far from being a remonstration with the Europeans, it was a reaching out to Europe. I think that he did that very effectively, and he made it very clear that there were issues such as the middle east, tackling global poverty and HIV/AIDS, on which he wanted a good and robust partnership with the European Union. Of course, he defended his position in respect of Iraq, as we would expect him to do. What is more, he was in Poland, where I had been the day before, which had fully supported our action in Iraq.
On debt relief, we are making progress. There are certain issues to do with exactly how the heavily indebted countries programme works and the issue of topping up. We are trying to resolve those issues, but I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that, in terms of debt relief, as a result of the measure that was driven forward by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, we have now seen $62 billion worth of debt forgiven. That is very important indeed.
On generic drugs, we have given tax relief for research on the development of those drugs by our countries in respect of diseases that are the particular problem of developing countries. We have to resolve the issue of the
Finally, in relation to the WTO, a change has happened in the sense that the French proposals on agriculture in respect of Africa are a step forward, because they recognise in principle that export subsidies are unacceptable and should go. It was not possible to reach full agreement in respect of all the aspects of the French proposals, but they are a significant step forward. Again, I hope that there will be a coming together between all members of the European Union and the United States on the other hand so that we all make it clear that there should be a programme for phasing out the agricultural subsidies. If that does not happen, the developing world will be left in the position of being able to produce crops and carry out agricultural production, but not to gain access to our markets on a fair and equitable basis. After the G8 meeting, I am more hopeful that we will be able to resolve the matter, but it will be difficult.
Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie): I very much welcome the statement in the report that the G8 has endorsed the initiative taken by this country to ensure transparency in the oil industry and other extractive industries and the recognition that there should be publication of accounts, as corrupt leaders and companies have taken billions of pounds out of Africa. Can the Prime Minister confirm that absolutely every country will now take the legislative measures necessary to force its companies to make their accounts transparent? Can he let us know how that is to be brought into effect?
The Prime Minister: On the issues to do with governance and corruption, the peer review group mechanism has been set up under NEPADthe New Partnership for Africa's Developmentand I think that about 15 or 16 countries have already agreed to submit themselves to that process, which will judge how far they have come in tackling the problems of corruption. In respect of the extractive industries, what we have agreed is that the proposal should be taken forward. The detail has got to be worked out, but it will not work, in my view, unless it is a clear requirement across the board. Obviously, there are companies that want to participate in principle, but if they have to be transparent and accountable while other companies do not, it will be very difficult for them to compete. We are now looking at how to ensure that, both in the countries of origin of the companies and in the developing countries, we introduce mutually acceptable and binding legislation. That is what we are doing now.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe): When the Prime Minister was discussing Iraq with his fellow G8 leaders, he presumably recalled that they all supported the unanimous Security Council resolution 1441 saying that military force, if necessary, would be justified to disarm Saddam. Did he remind President Bush that the case for war against Iraq without a second resolution and in the face of the opposition of the majority of the Security Council was that those weapons posed such an imminent threat that an immediate military invasion
The Prime Minister: The right hon. and learned Gentleman and I agree on some things, but I am afraid that we disagree on this matter completely. First, let me point out to him that the basis on which we went to conflict was that in resolution 1441, Iraq was given a final chance to comply fully and unconditionally with the UN inspectors, and the conclusion that we drew six months later was that it was not doing so. The problem in the UN Security Council is that we could not get an agreement even to the fact that, if it carried on not complying fully and unconditionally with the UN inspectors, we could take action. That was obviously an unacceptable situation.
That is the first point to make. The second is that I stand entirely by the dossier that we issued and the intelligence contained in it. I have also pointed out in the statement and on other occasions both at the Dispatch Box and elsewhere that, of course, Iraq undertook a sustained campaign of concealment of the weapons. The Iraq survey group is the group that is going in now and which will interview the scientists and experts and examine the sites, and it has the expertise, including former UN inspectors, to do so. When we get a proper and fully documented account of what it has found, we will present it to people, because it is right that they know the outcome. I suspect that both the right hon. and learned Gentleman and I would be sensible to suspend our judgment until that time, but I stand fully by what our intelligence agencies put out. I say to himhe will have some experience of thisthat I have dealt with those involved for six years and I have not only found them to be people of total professionalism and integrity, but found the quality of what they produce to be among the finest anywhere in the world.
Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood): In trying to heal the divisions in the world that have appeared with regard to the difference of view about how to handle the crisis in Iraq, did the Prime Minister apologise to President Chirac for misleading all of us about the position of France on the second resolution? I think that he told the House, and many of us, that France had said that it would veto any second resolution. It is now absolutely clear that President Chirac said on 10 March that the inspectors needed longer, but if they failed to disarm Iraq, the Security Council would have to mandate military action. Does that not mean that he misled us and should apologise to us as well?
The Prime Minister: I am sorry, but again, we have a complete disagreement on this issue. First, the remarks that President Chirac made are now on the record and are history, and were about France saying no whatever the circumstances. Actually, there is an even more