HC Deb 10 November 1988 vol 140 cc268-9W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Iraq about the use of chemical weapons against Kurds; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

We have made clear to the Iraqi Government on a number of occasions, particularly following events at Halabja in March this year, our condemnation of Iraqi use of chemical weapons against the Kurds. Following compelling indications of further use in August, I told the Iraqi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 21 September that we regarded the use of chemical weapons as barbaric and that Iraq should accept a United Nations investigative mission. We regret that Iraq refused to admit a United Nations team. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster reiterated our concern at allegations of chemical weapons use to the Iraqi Government when he visited Baghdad on 4–8 November.

We have noted the Iraqi Foreign Minister's statement of 17 September pledging Iraq to abide by international law and agreements, including the 1925 Geneva protocol, banning chemical weapons. We support the convening of an international conference in Paris between 7–11 January to reaffirm support for the protocol.

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