HC Deb 30 October 1990 vol 178 cc455-6W
Mr. Kilfedder

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 19 October,Official Report, column 968, on the number of British citizens presently in Iraq and Kuwait, what information he has on how many of them have their permanent home in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

From the information available it is not possible to say how many British citizens in Iraq and Kuwait have their permanent homes in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Viggers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what media resources, through the BBC or otherwise, are available to the residents of the Iraq and Kuwait areas to ensure that accurate information is available to them.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Iraqi media are strictly controlled. However, residents of Iraq and Kuwait can receive broadcasts by the BBC World Service in Arabic—extended from 9 to 10.5 hours a day from 2 August—and English—extended from 18.5 to 24 hours a day from 8 August. English broadcasts now include the daily half-hour Gulf link programme for relatives to send messages to British people trapped in Iraq and Kuwait. Other international broadcasters, including Voice of America, are also audible. Unsuccessful attempts were made to jam BBC and VOA Arabic transmissions, but those attempts ceased on 12 October.

Mr. Bermingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for the telephone charges incurred through communications with relatives of those people currently being held in Iraq and Kuwait to be met by the embassies; if he will list those countries which meet these costs for their nationals; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Iraqi authorities do not allow detainees in Iraq and Kuwait to make telephone calls. Families in Britain have been advised to stay in touch with the Foreign Office gulf families support centre which will call them immediately there is any news of those held in Iraq and Kuwait. We are also providing a toll-free service giving general information about the crisis. Other countries have made similar arrangements. We do not have full details.

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