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Mosul: Reconstruction and Governance

Volume 616: debated on Monday 7 November 2016

3. What plans the Government have to help support the reconstruction and governance of Mosul once Daesh has been removed from that city. (907091)

We encourage the Iraqi Government’s efforts to protect civilians, minimise the humanitarian impact, and support political reconciliation. A successful military operation must be followed by sustained stabilisation and reconstruction. The UK is providing £15 million to help secure liberated areas, clear explosives and support the renovation of power networks, clinics and schools. This year, we are also providing £90 million of humanitarian assistance to help people across Iraq, including those affected by the military operations in and around Mosul.

The Government spent £320 million on bombing Libya and only £25 million on its reconstruction when the campaign ended. Libya is now fragmented and lawless. In Mosul governorate, towns have been destroyed and people such as my Yazidi friend Elias Qirani have been displaced to camps in Sinjar, freezing and without adequate food this winter. Will the Secretary of State assure the House that the lessons of Sinjar and Libya have been learned and that this Government have planned for peace and reconstruction in Mosul and Raqqa?

Yes, I think it is fair to say that we learn the lessons from each of these successive campaigns. This is a campaign being helped by the international coalition and led by Iraqi forces, but yes, we have made our contribution to the United Nations effort to ensure that there are sufficient tents, food aid and medical supplies for those towns that are liberated. I hope the hon. Lady supports the overall aim of the campaign, which is to allow the Yazidi people to return to their homes and to live in peace.

Given the complex ethnic make-up of Mosul and the split between Sunnis and Shi’as, what plans are there for some kind of international observer force to be on the ground in the city once it is liberated?

It is for the Iraqi Government in the first instance to determine the future local government of Mosul. It is, as my hon. Friend says, a very complex city and not entirely a Sunni city, and it is important that the administration there after liberation can command the confidence of all groups represented in that city. We have made our views on this known to the Government and military commanders of the operation.

We welcome the progress in the operation to liberate Mosul and we fully support this important offensive. I recently met the Iraqi ambassador, who reiterated the need to defend the border between Iraq and Syria to ensure that Daesh cannot return to re-establish itself in Mosul or anywhere else. What role will the UK play in securing the border and defending the territorial integrity of Iraq?

It is not for us in the west to question the territorial integrity of Iraq. In the end it is for the Iraqi people to decide their borders. One of the aims of the counter-Daesh coalition, which I shall be chairing at its next meeting next month in London, is to focus on the period after the liberation of Mosul and after the final mopping-up operations along the Tigris and in the Euphrates river valley, to see what more can be done by the coalition countries to help Iraq to reinforce its border and ensure that Daesh does not come back through it.