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Sudan: Al-Shifa Chemical Factory

Volume 597: debated on Tuesday 9 February 1999

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they obtained any independent information to confirm President Clinton's assurance to the Prime Minister that the al-Shifa factory in Khartoum which United States forces attacked last summer was engaged in the production of weapons of mass destruction: and, if not, why they have not accepted the Sudanese Government's invitation to the United Nations Security Council and to the international community to inspect the factory and other facilities in the Sudan concerning which the United States has expressed similar suspicions. [HL787]

The US said at the time of the strike that they had compelling evidence that the plant was being used for the manufacture of chemicals for use in chemical weapons.The invitation from the Sudanese Government is in the form of a draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council, which is the appropriate place for such an invitation to be considered.We shall, in any case, continue to encourage Sudan to become a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits the acquisition, development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. It is supported by a verifications regime consisting of data declarations and on-site inspections.