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Breakfast with Frost
Ann Clwyd MP
Ann Clwyd MP

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: The divisions which we see at the international level though over Iraq are also being played out here in the Labour Party. Last week more than a hundred Labour MPs rebelled against the government's line. But among those who didn't was the backbencher Ann Clywd who has recently returned, this very week in fact, from Kurdish northern Iraq, where she was shown harrowing evidence of Saddam's brutality. Ann, good morning. Like the Prime Minister, you are clearly someone who believes in the moral imperative of the situation now. You're with him on the case of moral regime change.

ANN CLYWD: Well for over 20 years I've been, I've known about human rights abuses in Iraq because I've been involved with the campaign against repression for democratic rights in Iraq since 1984 and the catalogue of abuse against his own people by Saddam Hussein, torture, ethnic cleansing and so on, has continued throughout that time. So for those reasons alone, I think it is time that the world took account of the human rights abuses in that country. And I was listening to the French foreign minister and I was reminded, because I've argued for another option to war, which was to indict Saddam Hussein and leading members of his regime. I head an organisation which for the last six years has collected evidence from victims of the regime. And we were hoping some European country would in fact indict leading members of the regime, as Milosevic was indicted while he was still head of state. And that would have been a good way of actually crumbling that regime. But the French foreign minister talked about other options. Well, you know, one of the options was for the UN, some years ago, to set up a UN war crimes tribunal on Iraq. And you know who blocked it? France, Russia and China. And as recently as two years ago the UK and other countries tried to get the UN to set up that tribunal. So France should be reminded of that. Why did they block that? Because I think that would have been an option to war.

DAVID FROST: So war really is the only way, really, to deal with Saddam, in your view?

ANN CLYWD: Well, you know, talking to the Kurds, who again I know very well indeed over a long period of time, I've been there six times altogether. I was there in 1991 when the Kurds fled over the mountains of Iran and Iraq, away from the bombardment of Saddam, and I saw many hundreds of thousands of people die. Women were coming to me with babies in their arms and the babies were already dead. You know, you never forget scenes like that. And repression against the Kurds, the Shias, the Syrians, has continued since 1991. It didn't come to an end. There's a UN resolution in 1991 calling, resolution 688, calling for an end to repression and for that resolution alone I think it is important that we took action against this despotic, fascist regime.

DAVID FROST: Ann, thank you very much indeed for that passionate summary. Someone on the pro side, pro Tony Blair side, in the Labour controversy that's going on at the moment.


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