Iraq

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Conservative, Bolton West 12:00 am, 22nd November 2016

What discussions he has had with his Iraqi and other international counterparts on the political situation in Iraq.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Post-conflict states are potential incubators enabling emerging and existing groups to flourish, so it is important for the international community to work with Baghdad to ensure that the complex and diverse make-up of Iraq is fully represented. I visited the country two weeks ago to see how governance was improving, but also to underline the United Kingdom’s support.

Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Conservative, Bolton West

Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Bolton town hall will be lit up in red tomorrow to mark Red Wednesday, an Aid to the Church in Need initiative to highlight religious persecution in Iraq, in Syria, and around the world. Will the Minister join me in supporting Red Wednesday to raise awareness of those who are suffering injustice and risking their lives for their faith?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I shall be more than delighted to join you, Mr Speaker, in welcoming and supporting that initiative.

We should not forget that the diverse make-up of Iraq, which I mentioned before, is part of its history, but so, unfortunately, is sectarian violence. After al-Qaeda was flushed out, the answer to allowing best representation in Baghdad in fact allowed Daesh to gain popularity and to dominate Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and other places. We must not revisit that by failing to ensure that there is full representation across the piece in Baghdad.

Photo of Graham Jones Graham Jones Labour, Hyndburn

What conversations have the Minister and the Foreign Secretary had with their counterparts in Iraq about a power-sharing agreement in the Mosul region, including Tal Afar, to ensure that we secure the peace after the liberation of the city and the region?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I think the Foreign Secretary touched on this, and it was very much the focus of my attention when I visited the country last week. The way the liberation will move is that the east side of the city, on the right-hand side of the Tigris, will be liberated first, and there are plans for ward breakdowns to make sure there are the necessary leaders to come in to provide that security and make sure improvised explosive devices are removed and get the water supplies working and the place itself safe. It will take time, and this needs to be an Iraqi-led process, but the international community, through the United Nations Development Programme, is working very hard to make sure it is a success.