HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 c849W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason the UK rejected the Iraqi appeal to halt patrols over the no-fly zone on the day of the solar eclipse on 11 August. [98277]

Mr. Hain

We remain fully committed to patrolling the no-fly zones set up to limit Baghdad's repression of the Iraqi population. We are not prepared to leave innocent civilians exposed to attacks by the Iraqi air force. Our patrolling poses no threat to those on the ground. Only when Iraqi forces try to shoot down our aircraft are we forced to respond in self-defence. Civilian facilities would, of course, never be targeted.

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