HC Deb 21 June 2004 vol 422 cc1179-81W
David Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes are planned in the nature of the deployment of British troops in Iraq after 30 June. [179370]

Mr. Hoon

On 30 June, the UK will no longer be an Occupying Power under the terms of the Geneva Conventions in Iraq. The Iraqi Government will increasingly take direct responsibility for security. Prime Minister-designate Dr. Iyad Allawi explained in his letter to the Security Council that he intends to establish appropriate security structures that will allow his Government and Iraqi security forces to progressively assume security responsibility. These structures will include the Prime Minister's Ministerial Committee for National Security which will set a broad framework for security policy and to which he will invite representatives from the multinational force as appropriate.

In Multinational Division South-East, British forces will fully support this process. Iraqi local authorities and security forces will take responsibility for local security wherever possible on 30 June, with multinational forces in support.

Mr. Carmichael

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current situation in Iraq. [179377]

Mr. Hoon

An Interim Iraqi Government has been chosen and stands ready to assume full sovereignty and authority on 30 June. This marks the end of occupation governed by the Geneva Convention. Details of the political process have been set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1546, which acknowledges the continued role of the multinational force in supporting the Iraqi Government. The UN Electoral Commission is preparing for full elections to the Transitional Assembly before the end of January 2005.

In my visit to Iraq last week, I was able to see for myself the contribution personnel from the United Kingdom are making to Iraq's future. For example, they have trained some 8,000 police in the south. In Baghdad a United Kingdom Ministry of Defence team is helping the Iraqi Minister for Defence set up and develop his department, and officers from the New Iraqi Army are due shortly to begin training at Sandhurst. After 30 June, responsibility for security will pass to the Iraqi Government. The United Kingdom is fully committed to this process and the transition has already started—for example, control of the Iraqi Coastal Defence Forces, which were trained by UK personnel, was passed to the Iraqis on 12 June.

Mr. Tynan

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance British forces have provided to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission regarding military cemeteries and memorials in Iraq. [178605]

Mr. Caplin

British forces have provided security, general clearance and maintenance assistance at cemeteries and memorials in southern Iraq.

The present climate is not conducive to the commencement of any major CWGC projects in Iraq. However, the situation will be re-assessed after the new interim Government of Iraq has assumed its responsibilities.

Adam Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the names are of those individuals reported to have been killed or injured as a result of action by Armed Forces personnel in Iraq in whose cases the commanding officer of the regiment concerned decided there was no case to answer. [179011]

Mr. Ingram

I am withholding the names of alleged Iraqi victims of abuse at the hands of UK soldiers, where these individuals are still living, in accordance with Exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Information on the numbers of cases where the commanding officer decided there was no case to answer is currently being collated from unit records.

Mr. Gerald Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cases of(a) dysentery and (b) similar conditions were reported by British Forces serving in Iraq in the year ending 31 March. [176374]

Mr. Ingram

For the year ending 31 March 2004, 50 suspected cases of dysentery were reported. Central records of similar disorders are not held, and it would not be possible to calculate these except at disproportionate cost.