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1991 - PMQT Written Answers 28th February 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 28th February 1991.


PRIME MINISTER:

The Gulf

Mr. Latham : To ask the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the conflict in the Gulf.

The Prime Minister : I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made earlier today.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister at what times on 22 February Her Majesty's Government first obtained the text of (a) the first Soviet plan and (b) the revised Soviet plan for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait ; and from what source this text was obtained.

The Prime Minister : In the evening of 18 February I received a personal message from President Gorbachev in which he set out the proposals he had put to the Iraqis. Details of the revised plan were received in the morning of 22 February from Moscow ; the Soviet Government put it to the United Nations Security Council in the morning--New York time--of 23 February.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what communications he or his officials had with his counterparts in member states of the allied coalition in the Gulf on 22 February ; and what matters were discussed.

The Prime Minister : We had extensive consultations on 22 February with partners in the allied coalition, and with the Soviet Union, predominantly on the terms under which Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait and comply with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what consideration was given to the effects of the damage done to bridges and roads in Kuwait and in southern Iraq by the allied bombing sorties when the time period for Iraqi military withdrawal from Kuwait was set on 22 February.

The Prime Minister : The allied deadline took account of circumstances at the time and was intended to ensure that Iraq ended its occupation of Kuwait in the shortest possible time.


Kuwait

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to submit proposals to the United Nations and to the allied Governments for the establishment of a free and autonomous nation, with a democratic government, in Kuwait on the completion of its liberation.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) on 26 February at column 463.


Nuclear Test Ban

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray), Official Report, 17 January, column 572, he will set out the proposals that have been submitted by the United Kingdom to the conference on disarmament in Geneva in each year since 1979 on the matter of nuclear testing.

The Prime Minister : The United Kingdom has participated fully in the relevant ad hoc committee and in the group of scientific experts which is considering the subject.


Mr. Ian Richter

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister what information he possesses on the present health and whereabouts of Mr. Ian Richter, a British citizen held in jail in Iraq.

The Prime Minister : Mr. Richter was last visited in Abu Ghraib prison by Her Majesty's consul general in Baghdad on 2 January shortly before the withdrawal of our staff from Iraq. Mr. Richter was then in good health, had sufficient supplies to last some time and well understood why the embassy staff were withdrawing.

We are using all possible channels, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, to check that Mr. Richter is safe. We remain in close touch with his family.


Norwegian Prime Minister

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newport, West concerning the meeting with the Norwegian Prime Minister, Official Report, 21 February 1991, column 223, what matters were raised during the discussions on developments in Europe.

The Prime Minister : Mrs. Brundtland and I exchanged views on NATO, the European Community and on the negotiations toward a European economic area.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 28 February.

The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.