Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary: Visit to United States

House of Lords written question – answered on 7th April 2003.

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Photo of Baroness Gould of Potternewton Baroness Gould of Potternewton Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the visits to the United States by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary from 20 to 27 March.

Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister for Trade and Investment and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also Department of Trade and Industry), Minister of State (Trade and Investment) Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also FCO)

My right honourable friend the Prime Minister visited Camp David on 26 and 27 March. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary joined him there on 27 March. The Prime Minister dined with President Bush and the Foreign Secretary with Secretary Powell (in Washington) on 26 March; and they attended a session of plenary talks on 27 March. The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary then went on to New York to call on the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Much of the discussions focused on the future, looking beyond the conflict but reviewed first the military situation.

They noted that the military campaign was on track. The outcome was not in doubt. The coalition were prosecuting it with vigour and determination, but in a way which minimised, as far as humanly possible, civilian casualities and damage to infrastructure.

The coalition were also working intensively to ensure humanitarian relief. In recent days RFA "Sir Galahad" has delivered humanitarian supplies (including water, rice and lentils) at Umm Qasr; the drinking water plant in the same town has been repaired and the drinking water pipeline from Kuwait completed.

The Prime Minister and President Bush made clear their joint commitment to reuniting the UN Security Council in expectation of further work on the post-conflict political process and reconstruction.

At Camp David, the Prime Minister and President Bush agreed that progress on OFF was the key humanitarian priority. More than half of Iraq's people depend on OFF for their food. So it was urgent for the Security Council to give the Secretary General authority to start getting OFF food to them. The necessary security Council Resolution (1472) was indeed adopted unanimously in the Security Council on 29 March.

The Prime Minister and President Bush made clear that we would seek new UN resolutions to affirm Iraq's territorial integrity, to ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq.

President Bush made clear US commitment to the establishment of a new Iraqi government chosen by the Iraqi people themselves.

The Middle East peace process was a major feature of the Prime Minister's discussions with President Bush. President Bush, the first US president to do so, publicly restated his vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and reiterated his commitment to implementing the roadmap. He noted that he saw an opportunity to bring renewed hope and progresss to the entire Middle East.

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