HC Deb 24 April 1991 vol 189 cc1085-6
11. Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had concerning the Kurdish population of Iraq.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

My right hon. Friend has had many intensive discussions with his American, European Community and other colleagues, the United Nations Secretary-General and relief agencies. The United States Secretary of State and European Community Foreign Ministers discussed the plight of the Kurds when they met on 17 April in Luxembourg.

Yesterday, I had meetings in Geneva with Prince Salruddin, Mr. Stafford of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, when we discussed the plight of the Kurds. I have also had three meetings with representatives of Iraqi opposition groups, including Kurds, and one of those delegations met my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Mrs. Fyfe

I thank the Minister for that reply. Did he discuss with the Iraqi opposition their calls for a provisional coalition Government? Does he agree with their views that that would help overthrow Saddam Hussein more permanently? Finally, will he comment on the desperate need to get material aid moving in Britain as so much of it is being stored in warehouses? People have been gathering material together, but cannot get it shipped out to Iraq because of organisational problems in this country. Will he support more material and organisational aid to the Iraqi opposition?

Mr. Hogg

United Kingdom support for delivery and dispatch of aid is very considerable. The hon. Lady will have heard what my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development said on that subject on Monday. The Kurdish opposition groups did not talk to me about a provisional Government. They think in terms of the Iraqi army overthrowing Saddam Hussein. They talk about their aspirations, which we strongly support, for a democratic pluralistic society, ensuring civil rights by constitutional means. They also support the concept of an autonomous Kurdish region within the existing frontiers of Iraq.

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