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Iraq

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his US counterparts concerning safeguards to monitor the performance of the Bechtel Group in their new contract to re-establish water and electricity services in Iraq. [112170]

The US has awarded contracts for companies such as the Bechtel Group in line with US policy and practice. Performance against the contract is a matter for the US.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the scale of looting in schools in southern Iraq. [112601]

UK forces are in contact with the Basra local education authority. The majority of schools in the UK area of operations have reopened. The military have helped refurbish four schools and provided materials to over 100 others.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the contents and (b) the value of the contents of (i) Iraqi Government documents and (ii) Ba'ath party documents discovered by Coalition forces in Iraq, with particular reference to links between the regime of Saddam Hussein and (A) al-Qaeda and (B) other terrorist organisations; and if he will make a statement. [113284]

It is the practice of successive governments not to comment on intelligence matters. The Security and Intelligence agencies are not within the scope of the code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to obtain (a) intelligence and (b) military and other Iraqi Government and Ba'ath party documents in (i) abandoned offices, (ii) palaces and (iii) private property for examination by Coalition partners; and if he will make a statement. [113285]

The Americans in Baghdad and the British in Basra are seeking to obtain available information and documents. It is the practice of successive governments not to comment on intelligence matters and I will not comment further.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements there are for the Coalition partners to make available to each other on a reciprocal basis copies of military and Ba'ath party documents; and according to what timetable. [113408]

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his statement of 12th May 2003 on Iraq, how and when invitations will be issued for the national conference; and what steps are being taken to ensure an equal participation of Iraqi women in the conference. [113491]

At the Central Iraq Meeting of 28 April 2003, it was agreed to arrange a national conference to establish an Iraqi Interim Authority (IIA). A number of leading Iraqis are being consulted on creating a broad spectrum of Iraqi opinion at the conference. There is a Steering Committee which may issue the invitations to the national conference as soon as is practicable. The UK Special Representative for Iraq, John Sawers, is working with the US and the Iraqi representatives to facilitate this process and has raised with all parties the issue of women's participation.