The Gulf

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 17th January 1991.

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Photo of Mr Neil Kinnock Mr Neil Kinnock Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 3:30 pm, 17th January 1991

I am grateful to the Prime Minister for his statement.

As the House and the country consider the current conditions in the Gulf region, does the Prime Minister agree that it is relevant and fair to remind ourselves that the first act of warfare which caused the Gulf crisis was taken by Saddam Hussein on 2 August when he invaded Kuwait?

For the reasons that I gave on Tuesday, I had hoped that the combined pressures of blockade, sanctions and military readiness could be employed longer to have maximum effect.

Our forces naturally have our complete support and I join the Prime Minister in his thoughts for the families of the men and women facing danger in the Gulf and in his desire that their loved ones come safe home.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that the war aims of the allied forces in the Gulf are related directly to achieving the fulfilment of the United Nations purposes of upholding and implementing resolution 660 and of restoring international peace and security in the area? Will he take this opportunity to make it clear that the forces pursuing those purposes of the United Nations are guided by the dual aims of maximising the disabling of Iraqi military strength while minimising any harm to civilians?

I recognise that the conflict is but hours old, but will the Prime Minister, even at this stage, reaffirm that, after the conclusion of the conflict, prominence must be given to proceeding as quickly as possible to international activities through the United Nations to resolve the wider problems of justice, peace and stability throughout the region?

I welcome the fact that the Government are making provision for an early debate. Once again, just in the act of doing that we are demonstrating the superiority of democracy over any form of dictatorship.