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'A threat that Britain cannot ignore' - FOM

'A threat that Britain cannot ignore'

Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien has said that the dossier on Iraq, mentioned by the Prime Minister in his press conference on 3 September, would 'set out the whole case' on what's been happening in Iraq before and after 1998.

'The important point' he said, is 'if Saddam Hussein has nothing to hide then he's nothing to fear from the UN inspectors. He should allow them unfettered access'.

The dossier will be published 'at the appropriate time' during the 'process' of setting out the case for 'why we need to deal with a threat which is a very serious one to Britain and to the world'.

Mr O'Brien gave some facts from the dossier which, he said, would lead people to 'conclude that this is a threat that Britain cannot ignore and therefore that we must be prepared to press Iraq to comply with the UN resolutions and allow those inspectors in'. These facts included:

UN inspectors discovering vast amounts of chemical and biological weapons when they were in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein was trying to develop a nuclear capability and develop a ballistic missile capacity before 1991. He was three years from developing that in 1991.

that Saddam Hussein continued to seek to develop that after 1991 while the UN inspectors were there. We'll look at some of the detailed evidence on that in the dossier, but we are convinced that he is developing a nuclear weapons capability now.

Saddam Hussein used mustard gas against his own people at Talaja, a liquid agent which burns eyes and skin and if inhaled burns the lungs.
On Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Mr O'Brien concluded:

"...we cannot ignore this threat and we cannot wait for him to develop the capacity to cause us damage and we must make sure that we deal with that and we get the inspectors in."

ENDS

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