31 Mar 2003 : Column 487W
Mr. Ingram: We have made it clear that we are committed to help the Iraqi people rebuild their country once Saddam Hussein's regime is removed from power. We envisage that United Kingdom forces will help to provide a safe and secure environment to allow the renewal effort to begin.
Mr. Hoon: The area in Southern Iraq in which United Kingdom forces are operating includes a significant segment of the Iraq/Iran border. UK forces are responsible for ensuring the security of the whole of the area under their control. I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government is making every effort to liaise closely with the Iranian authorities to reduce the scope for any potential misunderstandings. We see no need to take special measures relating to the security of the Iraq/Iran border.
Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave a short while ago to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dudley, North (Mr. Cranston), my hon. Friend the Member for North West Leicestershire (Mr. Taylor) and the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, West (Mr. Brady).
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), of 23 January 2003, Official Report, column 450W, on Iraq, how much of the money was spent on munitions. 
31 Mar 2003 : Column 488W
Mr. Ingram: The costs identified in my earlier answer are only the net additional costs the Department has incurred. Operational costs are recorded only when normal rates of peacetime activity and consumption are exceeded. As a result figures do not record the cost of all munitions used, only those expended in excess of normal requirements. However, centrally held records do not identify separately the additional costs of munitions consumed.
Mr. Ingram: The massive logistic effort, involving many of the 28,000 civilian and military personnel in the Defence Logistics Organisation and around 5,000 personnel in theatre, in support of United Kingdom armed forces operations in the Gulf, and the build up to it, has been extremely successful. The size of this task has been considerable; we have deployed an equivalent quantity of materiel to that supplied for the last Gulf conflict in half the time. This has ranged from some 13,000 tonnes of ammunition and over 15,000 vehicles, to 2.5 million operational ration packs. This level of logistic support is being maintained, including delivery of about 2,000 bags of mail per day totalling over 185 tonnes so far.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received about delays to mail from UK forces in Iraq to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: I have received no representations about delays to mail from United Kingdom forces in Iraq. On the wider question of mail services between UK and the Gulf area, I have received a large number of enquires from hon. Members and from the general public about services available. The British Forces Post Office is despatching and receiving mail regularly and there are no delays. Naturally, it is more difficult to arrange collection and delivery of mail to deployed units, many of which are moving rapidly across Iraq.
Mr. Ingram: Personnel who have moved forward into Iraq are currently on Operational Ration Packs. These provide for two hot meals and one cold meal, plus snacks, per day. Similarly, personnel in the camps in Gulf have access to at least two hot meals a day.
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 27 March 2003]: As of 28 March 2003, there were 2,966 women serving with all three services in support of Operation TELIC. The figures by service are not available. Of these, 2,690 were serving in the Arabian Peninsular and 276 are in Cyprus.
31 Mar 2003 : Column 489W
Dr. Moonie: The working relationship between the Ministry of Defence and the media during times of conflict or war is covered in detail in the Green Book"Working Arrangements with the Media in times of Emergency, Tension, Conflict or War".
In the United Kingdom, we have provided the media with briefings by Ministers, officials and military officers, and arranged facilities to demonstrate our capabilities. In theatre, we have established a media information service at the Coalition Headquarters. We have also compiled a media pool of 128 accredited UK war correspondents who are now embedded with our forces in the Gulf.
Mr. Ingram: Coalition forces are taking the utmost care to minimise the effects of conflict on the Iraqi people. However, there is an urgent need for humanitarian relief, not least because of damage and neglect during the long years of Saddam Hussein's misrule.
United Kingdom forces will, where they are able, deliver emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq until the post-conflict security situation is stable enough for civilian aid agencies to deploy. The Government have allocated up to £30 million to United Kingdom Forces to provide this immediate assistance.
In due course, the intention is that responsibility for humanitarian provision should be transferred to civilian aid agencies, however, assistance provided so far by UK forces has included drinking water, food, shelter, and medical supplies. Supplies have been delivered both overland from Kuwait, and through the deep port at Umm Qasr.
Mr. Hoon: We continue to make progress in developing the European Security and Defence European Union agreed Policy. Earlier this month, NATO and the arrangements, known as "Berlin Plus", giving the EU ready access to the Alliance's common assets and capabilities for operations. As a consequence, the EU is now able to launch its first military mission in Macedonia, taking over from the NATO operation "Allied Harmony" today. This is a tangible
31 Mar 2003 : Column 490W
demonstration of the strategic partnership between the two organisations and of the EU's determination to strengthen its ability to undertake crisis management operations. We also continue to make progress on improving European military capabilities and are actively engaged in the debate on the future of the ESDP in the Convention on the Future of Europe.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|