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Iraq

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make arrangements for the care of animals in Baghdad Zoo. [109429]

No. Coalition forces are working with community leaders to ensure that law and order is reestablished as soon as possible to try to ensure Baghdad's institutions are protected from harm or damage.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what evidence British troops have found since the start of the war of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; [107834](2) if he will list weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. [109384]

To date, the main focus for coalition forces has been the establishment of a safe and secure environment in Iraq. This is a necessary precursor to the full achievement of our campaign objectives, as set out in the document placed in the Library of the House on 20 March 2003.

There is no doubt that Saddam had programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction. Evidence of these programmes could take any of several forms, for example, samples of chemical or biological agents, delivery systems, research or production facilities, documentation or interviews with relevant Iraqi personnel. No conclusive evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has yet been discovered, but investigations are at an early stage. We expect gathering and collating evidence from the various sources to be a long and complex task.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the sites in Iraq and their locations which were mentioned by the Prime Minister in his statement to the House of 14th April (a) where searches have been begun for chemical or biological weapons and (b) which are possible sites for weapons of mass destruction. [110178]

All of the sites referred to by the Prime Minister are potentially related to Iraq's programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons. Further sites are being identified as investigations develop. There is a potential for evidence to be disturbed if sites are announced in advance, and investigations may require more than one visit. Currently, therefore, we do not plan to give precise details of sites, their locations or what investigations have taken place until investigations are complete.Such sites are only one potential form of evidence of Iraqi programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction. Others forms of evidence could include samples of chemical or biological agents, delivery systems, documentation or interviews with relevant Iraqi personnel. We currently expect gathering and collating evidence from these various sources to be a long and complex task. We will aim to release information concerning evidence of Iraqi WMD programmes when and where appropriate, as we did before the conflict began. It would be inappropriate to release anything at this early stage, as this could be incomplete or inaccurate.