Iraq

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 8th July 2003.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Foreign Secretary 11:30 am, 8th July 2003

First, parts of the September document that we published have already been proved true. They include the parts that relate to the shorter-range missile systems and the import of far larger quantities of missile engines than Iraq ever conceded. Indeed, it failed to admit to them when it was forced to make its second set of disclosures on 9 December. I can recall no claim that Iraq had built a nuclear reactor, so my hon. Friend should not invent claims to knock them down.

It is in our interests as much as those of anyone else to continue the search. However, given the reign of terror, the destruction and looting that unfortunately took place during and immediately after the war, and our knowledge of Iraq's continued efforts at concealment, which the dossier pointed out, the task will be difficult and painstaking. I remind those who would make glib assumptions that, 30 years on, we still do not know the whereabouts of IRA arms dumps, despite the fact that we know the country far better and that our intelligence penetrated it far more successfully than we have ever been able to penetrate Iraq.