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Will the Government do their best to smoke out exactly what oil contracts the French and the Russians agreed with Saddam Hussein, of which they were anxious to get the proceeds and which of course goes a long way to explaining why they were so anxious to take the political line over Iraq that they did?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, first, as regards Iraq's oil resources, I can confirm that in the short to medium term, the top priority will be the Oil for Food programme. Some 60 per cent of Iraqis are dependent on that programme. However, once the Iraqi interim administration has taken control, it will have control of Iraq's oil. No doubt it will look closely at the priority needs of the country.
Baroness Boothroyd: My Lords, while appreciating that coalition forces and troops should not be used as policemen during civil disorder, would it be possible for coalition troops to protect and secure the hospitals in Basra and Baghdadwhere I understand there is
Baroness Amos: My Lords, there is an obligation under the Geneva and Hague Conventions for the military to keep law and order, but in doing so the military must ensure that they are safe before moving on to secure other places. I assure the noble Baroness that protecting and securing hospitals is a top priorityas is trying to protect and secure supplies, including medical supplies. We worked very hard to protect and secure the ICRC warehouse in Baghdad because we were very concerned that it might be subject to looting.
Lord Judd: My Lords, my noble friend's remarks about the lead role to be played by the United Nations in humanitarian operations were immensely reassuring. Have the Government yet been able to discuss with British non-governmental organisations and humanitarian agencies whether they are now satisfied that arrangements are in place to enable them to keep to their tradition of working only in a situation in which they are seen to be impartial?
For all of us who have worked in the area of humanitarian aid, my noble friend's comments about the absolute indispensability of an Iraqi administration being in place as soon as possible were immensely important. Does my noble friend accept that if the new administration is to have legitimacy and credibility in the world, the UN cannot just assume a consultative role in its formation but must be central to the whole task of bringing the new administration into being and seeing it become operational?
More specifically, what is being done to plan for police training and to ensure that resources are in place for the administration of justice? We always talk about the rule of law, but it is immensely expensive. It requires lots of lawyers, judges, institutions and the rest. That alone will use up more than £270 million. Can my noble friend give an assurance that steps are being taken, beyond rhetoric, to ensure that arrangements are in place for the rule of law? Finally, does my noble friend accept that £270 million of aid can only be a small beginning and that the bill at the end will completely eclipse that sum?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, £240 million has been allocated to immediate humanitarian supportas DfID updates and statements have made absolutely clear. I was asked some time ago about the cost of longer-term reconstruction but at this point in time we have no idea. The international financial institutions are currently engaged in a needs assessment. They will not be able to operationalise it until there is a UN resolution that will enable them to operate in Iraq. We will return to those questions but the IFIs can undertake initial needs assessments.
We have been involved in weekly discussions with British non-governmental organisations since 13th February and have shared information with them. NGOs are currently operating in northern Iraq and there
With respect to the UN role, my noble friend Lord Judd said it was centralwe have said it is vital. I do not think there is much difference in the language. With respect to what we do in the longer term on police training, the administration of justice, and so on, I agree with my noble friend that these are very big questions. They will need to be tackled. They are resource-intensive, and I am sure that the House will come back to them on a number of occasions.
The Earl of Onslow: My Lords, will the Minister take up what the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, said? Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that somebody loots a hospital, and he is then stopped. What happens then? Is there any process or administration to deal with justice, summarily or otherwise, on the streets of Basra or Baghdad at the moment? I accept that this is a very difficult question for the Minister to answer.
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I would not expect the noble Earl to ask me anything but difficult questions. In Basra, our military are currently working with local leaders trying to establish some kind of policing system. This has not yet been established in an institutional way, but we are working on it. The situation is much more difficult and complex in Baghdad where the control is in certain areas and fighting is still going on. As I said to the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, the military need to be safe and secure before they can move on to make particular areas or institutions such as hospitals safe and secure. That is very important. When there is movement on these issues, I am happy to write to the noble Earl to let him know.
Lord Beaumont of Whitley: My Lords, are the Government thinking in the short termI realise that this is a statement about the short termabout the long-term cancellation of international debt on behalf of Iraq, bearing in mind that the main objection of many other countries is that that would benefit only the rich and the rulers? At present, when Iraq has no rich and no rulers, would it not be a good time to make that one of the first things we do to help?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, it will clearly be one of the things that the IFIs look at as part of their needs assessment with respect to the longer term reconstruction of Iraq. The noble Lord will be aware that the spring meetings take place this weekend and I am sure that this will be one of the subjects under discussion.
Lord Campbell-Savours: My Lords, does my noble friend recognise that the United Nations will have to earn anew the confidence of the people of Iraq which I believe it currently does not enjoy, if only because the United Nations is identified directly with the policy of containment, which has been a total disaster? It is also identified with, and was responsible for, the policy of sanctions, which it failed miserably to enforce, with the result that millions of people suffered. Finally, it is identified with the policy of opposition to war, which has led to the liberation of the people.
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I think there will be an onus on all of us in the international community to demonstrate to the people of Iraq that we are serious about the commitment we are giving to their longer term development. That will be for us, as coalition partners, and for the UN, as an over-arching international umbrella organisation. We will have to work very hard on this; the first test will clearly be establishing the interim authority, ensuring that the people of Iraq have a voice on that interim authority and that it speaks for the Iraqi people.
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