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

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his observation about our efforts in the Gulf.

The Governments of the Gulf countries fully understand the nature of Saddam Hussein. Riyadh, after all, had Scud missiles delivered on it during the Gulf war. Had those missiles contained anthrax, Riyadh would be uninhabitable to this day. Kuwait suffered invasion and looting, and 600 of its citizens were taken away by Saddam Hussein with his retreating army. To this day, seven years later, we have knowledge of only three of those 600; none has returned to Kuwait. The Governments of those countries therefore fully understand the importance of not leaving Saddam in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

I agree that it is desirable for us to demonstrate unity among the permanent members of the Security Council. Unfortunately, it was the appearance of disunity in October that sparked off the present confrontation, because it encouraged Saddam Hussein to be bolder. I hope that the Security Council resolution will give the clear message that members of the Security Council are unanimous in condemning Saddam' s activities.