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Iraq

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited Camp David on 26 and 27 March. I joined him there on 27 March. The Prime Minister dined with President Bush and I with Secretary Powell (in Washington) on 26 March; and we attended a session of plenary talks on 27 March. The Prime Minister and I then went on to New York to call on the Secretary General of the United Nations.Much of our discussions focused on the future, looking beyond the conflict. But we also reviewed first the military situation.We noted that the military campaign was on track. The outcome was not in doubt. The coalition were prosecuting it with vigour and determination, but in a way which minimised, as far as humanly possible, civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure.

The coalition were also working intensively to ensure humanitarian relief. In recent days UFA Sir Galahad has delivered humanitarian supplies (including water, rice and lentils) at Um Qasr; the drinking water plant in the same town has been repaired and the drinking water pipeline from Kuwait completed.

The Prime Minister and President Bush made clear their joint commitment to reuniting the UN Security Council in expectation of further work on the post conflict political process and reconstruction.

At Camp David, the Prime Minister and President Bush agreed that progress on oil for food—OFF—was the key humanitarian priority. More than half of Iraq's people depend on OFF for their food. So it was urgent for the Security Council to give the Secretary General authority to start getting OFF food to them. The necessary Security Council Resolution (1472) was indeed adopted unanimously in the Security Council on 29 March.

The Prime Minister and President Bush made clear that we would seek new UN resolutions to affirm Iraq's territorial integrity, to ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq. President Bush made clear US commitment to the establishment of a new Iraqi government chosen by the Iraqi people themselves.

The Middle East peace process was a major feature of the Prime Minister's discussions with President Bush. President Bush, the first US president to do so, publicly restated his vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and reiterated his commitment to implementing the roadmap. He noted that he saw an opportunity to bring renewed hope and progress to the entire middle east.