Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 10th February 1998.

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Photo of Robin Cook Robin Cook Foreign Secretary 3:30 pm, 10th February 1998

There is no question of our merely playing for time, nor has any decision been taken that force will be used or will be used on any specific date. It is not a play: we are trying very hard to increase the pressure on Saddam Hussein to ensure that he responds to the many diplomatic overtures that are being made, perhaps by people who are more likely to be heard in Baghdad than me or my United States counterpart.

It is a bit rich to complain that the United States and the United Kingdom are undermining the authority of the United Nations. Saddam Hussein plainly demonstrates daily his contempt for the United Nations, for the resolutions that it has passed and for the agreement that he entered into with the UN. Britain is in the lead in New York in trying to obtain agreement on a text that makes that quite clear. If my right hon. Friend wishes to follow through the logic of his position, he should condemn Saddam Hussein, not the British or American Governments.