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1991 - PMQT Written Answers 7th March 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 7th March 1991.


PRIME MINISTER:

The Gulf

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government have made any assessment of the number of (a) Iraqi military, (b) Kuwaitis, (c) Palestinians and (d) other nationals who were killed by Allied forces on the Kuwait to Basra road in the retreating convoy before a ceasefire was declared.

The Prime Minister : Allied forces had instructions to attack retreating Iraqi units which could continue to pose a threat. We have no information on casualties sustained in these attacks.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Prime Minister when he expects all prisoners of war held in (a) Iraq and (b) the United Kingdom to be released.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 5 March 1991] : Further coalition prisoners of war were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday and we hope that all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals will be released as soon as possible. Arrangements are being made with the International Committee of the Red Cross for those Iraqis being held in the United Kingdom to be released as soon as possible.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Prime Minister what consideration Her Majesty's Government gave to securing the release of prisoners of war before agreeing to a ceasefire in the Gulf conflict.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 5 March 1991] : Allied offensive operations in the Gulf are currently suspended. The release of all prisoners of war remains a top priority before a formal ceasefire is declared. In adopting resolution 686, the United Nations Security Council has called on Iraq immediately to arrange access to and release of all prisoners of war and detainees, under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 7 March.

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.


Missile Technology Control Regime

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his statement on the commitment to be sought from Iraq to destroy its ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction, Official Report, 28 February, column 1117, if he will make available to the United Nations appropriate resources and technical expertise to permit the supervision to which he refers.

The Prime Minister : We are considering what type of international supervision would be necessary for the destruction of such weapons. We would be willing to consider making available appropriate resources and technical expertise if necessary.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if, pursuant to his statement of 28 February, Official Report, column 1117, he will make it his policy to give consideration to inviting Iraq to join the missile technology control regime.

The Prime Minister : We have no plans to do so.


Immigrant Workers, Kuwait

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what steps Her Majesty's Government intend to take to alleviate economic hardship of immigrant workers in Kuwait made redundant by the Gulf war.

The Prime Minister : British nationals returning to the United Kingdom from Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion were eligible to receive travel grants and loans, and where appropriate, other assistance from the Department of Social Security. Assistance for those returning to their homes in other countries is a matter for their own Governments.


Gulf Casualties

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will appoint a Minister, with special responsibility for co-ordinating the provision of essentials services to service personnel disabled in the Gulf including counselling, psychiatric care, rehabilitation, social services, jobs and adapted housing.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 5 March 1991] : No. There are well-established arrangements for providing advice and assistance to personnel disabled in the course of their military service.


Economic and Political Union

Mr. Cash : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on progress on the intergovernmental conferences on (a) economic and monetary union and (b) political union; and if he will make it his policy to place the submissions made by each member state or the European Commission on (a) and (b) in the Library within one week of their being available to Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 6 March 1991] : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer reported to the House on 1 March on progress in the EMU intergovernmental conference, and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reported to the House yesterday on the progress in the political union intergovernmental conference. The proceedings and documents of these conferences are confidential as was the case for the intergovernmental conference that resulted in the Single European Act.