HC Deb 02 July 2003 vol 408 cc309-10W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he was consulted in advance of the decision by the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs to allow Iraqis to keep firearms; and what proposals he has to reduce the availability of firearms and ammunition in Iraq. [119795]

Mr. Rammell

Ambassador Bremrner of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) decided on 24 May that only small arms may be possessed in homes and in places of business, but that they must be retained at these sites and not be taken out in public. Only authorised persons may possess small arms in public places and those authorised persons are issued with a Temporary Weapons Card by Coalition Commanders. Only Coalition forces, police, security and other forces in uniform under the supervision of the Coalition may possess automatic or heavy weapons. UK legal staff are working with the CPA and were consulted on this decision which was in compliance with UNSCR 1483. There was no need for the Secretary of State to be consulted.

Restoring public order and a safe and secure environment is a priority for the Coalition, who have been working to disarm Iraqi civilians where possible. As a consequence of the decision on 24 May Iraqi civilians voluntarily turned in a variety of weapons under an amnesty from 1–14 June. We are working with US authorities in Washington and Baghdad to develop an effective way to carry out further work in this area.

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