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Aid Convoy Protection

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with aid agencies about protection for aid convoys being provided by the British military. [106961]

The UK military is working to establish safe and secure environments in the areas of Iraq it controls. This will allow humanitarian agencies to enter and provide humanitarian assistance where it is needed. It is likely that some areas will be made secure quickly; others will take longer.NGOs based in Kuwait have been given passes to enter southern Iraq and are intending to enter soon. The UN is carrying out its own security assessment of parts of southern Iraq, the results of which will determine the timing of UN operations there.Aid agencies prefer to operate within a 'humanitarian space' made secure by the controlling forces rather than being directly escorted by military forces. The latter could be seen to undermine the independence and impartiality the agencies require to gain access to those in need.