§ Lord Haskel
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What information they have regarding the demolition of Iraqi munitions at the Khamisiyah depot in March 1991 and its possible effect on British troops. [HL269]83WA
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
The Government's 1997New Beginnings policy statement set out the way forward for addressing the health concerns of Gulf veterans and included a statement of the MoD's commitment to review specific events in response to Gulf veterans' concerns that they were exposed to chemical weapons during the Gulf conflict. The work reviewing the incident at Khamisiyah in March 1991 has now been completed and my honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces has today published a detailed paper entitled Review of the events concerning 32 Field Hospital and the Release of Nerve Agent Arising from US Demolition of Iraqi Munitions at the Khamisiyah Depot in March 1991. In conjunction with this he has published a detailed paper that provides the background to the UK's chemical warfare defence entitled British Chemical Warfare Defence During the Gulf Conflict (1990–91). Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
As a result of our review of the information on the Khamisiyah incident, we do not believe there is evidence that any UK troops were definitely exposed to Iraqi chemical agents on 10 or 11 March 1991. Although some British troops were located within the computer modelled composite plume footprint, such theoretical exposure would have been at a very low level. We judge that if such an exposure took place it would present no risk to health.