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Iraq

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions the Government have had with the US Administration on the effectiveness of the provision of untied aid for reconstruction in Iraq. [108686]

The UK's position on aid untying is well known internationally. The US and other donors are well aware of our position on tied aid.International participation in Iraq's reconstruction will be vital. We expect some of the most substantial funding to come with the full involvement of the World bank and the UN. Contracts from these institutions are awarded transparently through competitive international processes.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if her Department will support the development of micro-credit organisations to develop a sustainable economy in post-conflict Iraq. [108689]

It is too soon to determine specific areas of UK focus in post-conflict Iraq. We will work with the UN and International Financial Institutions to establish a sustainable post-conflict economy drawing on our experience in Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what role is envisaged for other countries in (a) providing humanitarian aid and (b) providing peacekeeping troops in a post-war Iraq. [108873]

It will be important for as many countries as possible to support a UN-led humanitarian effort. Others providing humanitarian assistance include Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.It is premature to consider the composition of any UN peacekeeping operation for Iraq. For the immediate future the coalition forces will be responsible for security in Iraq under the terms of the Geneva Convention and Hague Regulations.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether there are Oil For Food officials in Umm Qasr; and whether food is being distributed through the Oil for Food Programme in Umm Qasr. [108874]

The UN Office of the Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI) reported last week that 30 Oil for Food distribution agents were still present in Umm Qasr and willing to return to work. The ration card system is also reportedly still in place. The World Food Programme (WFP) plan to try to restart the food distribution system in Umm Qasr shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the US Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance regarding the role of her Department and her Department's officials in the reconstruction of Iraq. [108875]

DFID has one secondee in ORHA working on humanitarian issues. My officials will be visiting Kuwait this week for further discussions on ORHA's work, including the coalition's obligation under international humanitarian law to keep the civil administration running.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of ethnic strife between Kurds and Arabs in the north of Iraq. [108883]

We are aware of the potential for ethnic strife which is a result of the Government of Iraq's policy of Arabisation', which forced many Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians from their homes in Kirkuk and other towns in the north of Iraq over the past 10 years. The coalition are monitoring the situation closely.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the timescale for the allocation of the money given to her Department by the Treasury for Iraq; and what this money is being spent on. [108884]

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list, by sector, her Department's (a) bilateral and (b) multilateral funding of development aid for Iraqi citizens in the current financial year. [109117]

Total DFID funds earmarked for humanitarian work in the current crisis are £210 million. £90 million of this is from DFID budgets, and £120 million is from the Treasury Central Reserve. Of this, DFID has committed £115 million to support work by humanitarian agencies in the current crisis and has £95 million set aside for further contributions. In addition, the Chancellor announced on 9 April that he would set aside a further £60 million for DFID to claim from the Treasury if and when needs arise.The £115 million was committed as follows:£65 million on 28 March to the UN flash appeal;£32 million to the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement in March, to fund preparedness and relief activities in Iraq and neighbouring countries;£8 million to the World Food Programme (£1 million February, £1 million early March with a further £6 million mid-March) to pre-position and distribute food;£2 million to UNICEF (£1 million February, £1 million March), to assist with the pre-positioning and distribution of health kits, water purification units and other supplies;£1.75 million to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (£0.75 million February and £1 million March) to aid the supply of winter kits for 350,000, and the procuring of kits for a further 600,000;£1 million to the World Health Organisation (£0.5 million February and £0.5 million March) for procuring, positioning and distributing emergency health kits;£150,000 in February to Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the deployment of co-ordination personnel and development of public information;£100,000 in February to the United Nations Office of the Security Coordinator (UNSECOORD), to enhance UN security;£5 million during March to non-governmental organisations (of which £2.6million has been specially agreed with individual NGOs to date: Save the Children UK £500,000, Merlin £265,000, International Medical Corps £220,000, HelpAge £150,000, GOAL £306,000, BBC World Service Trust £314,000, War Child £613,000 and MedAir £296,000).DFID are ready to make further contributions in line with emerging humanitarian needs.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what military strategy is in place to move humanitarian supplies quickly through Iraq. [108885]

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 more quickly than others.Aid agencies seek 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.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the capacity of the hospitals in Baghdad to handle the civilian and military casualties caused by United Kingdom and United States forces. [108976]

Baghdad hospitals have considerable capacity and high quality staff. The main immediate requirements of Baghdad's hospitals are for more medical supplies, reliable power/water supplies, and protection from looting.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the Iraqi refugee situation at Mehran, on Iran's western border. [109383]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report that there are an estimated 30,000 newly displaced people at Mehran, on the Iran/ Iraq border. They do not appear to be in immediate humanitarian need. We are monitoring the situation closely.