HL Deb 05 February 1992 vol 535 cc261-2

2.51 p.m.

Lord Molloy asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have made to the United Nations regarding civilians abducted from Kuwait and still held in Iraq.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (The Earl of Caithness)

My Lords, we raised the question of the whereabouts of the missing Kuwaiti citizens during the fifth review of sanctions against Iraq which began on 28th January.

Lord Molloy

My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for that somewhat encouraging reply. I hope that they have success. Does he agree that the endeavour which resulted in the magnificent achievements of the allied forces in driving out the invader from Kuwait and restoring Kuwait to its proper people raised the status of the United Nations? None of those achievements will bring complete happiness until the thousands of people who have been vilely abducted from Kuwait are returned. I hope that our country will give a lead in the United Nations to ensure that that is achieved.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord. We are giving that lead in the United Nations. We shall continue to do so. There are a number of other issues on which the Iraqi Government have not performed as requested by the United Nations.

Viscount Mountgarret

My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the happiness to which the noble Lord, Lord Molloy, referred is hardly likely to be achieved until that tyrant, Saddam Hussein, is brought to book and made to answer to the world, in justice, for the appalling atrocities that he has perpetrated? Will my noble friend say whether or not that will be possible?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, there are two aspects to my noble friend's question. One is Iraq's compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions. That can be separated from the removal of Saddam Hussein as head of the Iraqi Government. We would not shed a tear if he were to go today.

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, we welcome the action taken by the Government, which the noble Earl described. Precisely how many Kuwaitis and other nationals are still in captivity in Iraq? Does he agree that the Iraqi Government's conduct is in contravention to United Nations Resolution 686? What action is now being taken to pursue that resolution?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Cavendish of Furness said in reply to the Unstarred Question by the noble Lord, Lord Molloy, last night, the Kuwaiti Government have provided details of about 2,000 Kuwaiti citizens whom they believe to have been in Iraq. A number of approaches have been made, most particularly through the International Committee of the Red Cross. Regrettably, Iraq has not responded to any of the approaches. That is why we continue to maintain the pressure.

Lord Molloy

My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that debates that take place in this British Parliament at Question Time and at other times give great encouragement to the people of Kuwait whose husbands, daughters and wives are still in Iraq? Does he agree that we should make every endeavour to continue such encouragement? We say that we shall struggle. One day we shall be victorious in that effort. That by itself brings some degree of hope to the people of Kuwait.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord. We shall continue to pursue the matter.