Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 24 October 2001.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour 4:30, 24 October 2001

My Lords, I am sure that we all deeply appreciate the fact that my noble friend has made herself available for the Statement this afternoon. I should declare an interest as a member of the Oxfam association in asking two questions. First, my noble friend has referred to Mr Brahimi. All who know him cannot think of a better appointment and we all wish him well. Can my noble friend assure us that no penny will be spared in ensuring not only that the United Nations has a role to play in reconstruction but that it will have the resources to play that role effectively? There is a very strong feeling within the United Nations system that repeatedly it is called upon to take up responsibilities without being properly resourced. Can we have a specific reassurance on that point?

Secondly, my noble friend has referred to co-ordination. Can she assure us that if there is to be no pause in the bombing--and I personally accept that position--will there be the maximum possible co-ordination between those responsible for the humanitarian tasks and those responsible for the military tasks so that objectives on both fronts can be fulfilled without one part of the operation getting in the way of the other?