Iraq (Reconstruction)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:30 pm on 12th November 2003.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development 12:30 pm, 12th November 2003

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that because, with hindsight, part of the slow start to the process was due to the speed with which the conflict ended—people expected it to go on for much longer and anticipated a humanitarian crisis that did not emerge. He is right about police training. Efforts are under way as we speak to get more police trainers into Iraq because that is an important way to help with training. We all wish the Red Cross every success in trying to protect its staff and making a judgment in due course about when it will be safe for its international staff to return. It has played a really important role in the country for many years and a significant part of the funding that we gave in preparation for the reconstruction was to back its work.