The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1991Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 26 March 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 26th March 1991.


Human Rights Abuse

Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list those occasions over the past year when Her Majesty’s Government have made representations to Governments involved in the allied military coalition in the Gulf war concerning human rights abuses in their respective countries; and if he will indicate the criteria adopted by the Government in deciding why and when such representations are made.

The Prime Minister : No. Where allegations of abuse are well founded the Governments concerned are in no doubt of our concerns. Our criteria for representations are set out in the foreign policy document “Human Rights in Foreign Policy”, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Gulf War

Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Prime Minister if he will establish an inquiry into the economic effects of the Gulf war upon the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the Horn of Africa and Bangladesh, the Republic of the Philippines and the Indian sub-continent.

The Prime Minister : The Government have studied the analysis produced by the International Monetary Fund, World bank and others on the economic effects of the Gulf war. We have supported the rapid steps taken by the international institutions to adapt their facilities to assist affected countries. Fortunately, the fall in oil prices at the outbreak of war, and the rapid conclusion of hostilities mean that the adverse effects will not be as severe as initially feared.

Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Prime Minister what representations were received by Her Majesty’s Government (a) from 2 August 1990 to 16 January 1991 and (b) from 17 January to 8 February concerning the negative ecological consequences of military action in the Gulf ; from which organisations and individuals he received the representations ; and what response he made to each.

The Prime Minister : Several thousand letters have been received on the subject of the illegal occupation of Kuwait by Iraq and its aftermath, including the ecological damage caused by deliberate release of oil into the Gulf and firing of the Kuwait oil fields.


Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Prime Minister if he will propose an international scheme to make available oil at a substantially reduced price to the least developed states to assist them to restore the damage to their economies resulting from the Gulf war.

The Prime Minister : The United Kingdom has provided through the European Community some £60 million to Jordan, Turkey and Egypt, the states whose economies were most directly affected by the Gulf conflict. Given the size of our military role in the Gulf conflict we consider that the United Kingdom should not make a further financial contribution; the burden should be shared by others. We have however encouraged the IMF and the World bank to make additional resources available on concessional terms to the poorest countries most affected. The IMF has made specific arrangements to compensate countries affected by higher oil prices. Where the international community is providing such assistance, it will enable those countries to maintain imports of oil at market prices. We believe that providing oil at reduced prices would lead to economic distortions and a wasteful use of energy.