Defence written question – answered on 11th February 2004.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of British cluster bombs on (i) Iraqi armed forces during the conflict and (ii) civilians since large-scale hostilities ceased; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

We evaluate the performance and effects of all our equipment following the conclusion of every military operation involving UK Forces. The department's 'First Reflections' report included a brief summary and our initial assessment of the effect of cluster bombs during major combat operations in Iraq. Cluster bombs were used by UK forces against dispersed Iraqi military forces in the open or on the periphery of built up areas where they played an important role. Had cluster bombs not been used in this way more powerful and more destructive munitions would have been needed.

The UK takes seriously its obligations as a member of the coalition to provide a safe, secure and risk free environment for the Iraqi people. Since the end of major combat operations 675,000 munitions have been cleared in the UK area of responsibility. We do not record individual types of munitions cleared.

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