Sir: Dr al-Rubeai and Mr Rangwala (letters, 28 January) argue that sanctions help Saddam. I strongly disagree. May I add to Mr Berman's points (letter, 25 January)?
We should not forget why UN sanctions were imposed in 1990. Iraq had to be made to atone for its illegal occupation of Kuwait and to compensate the victims of the Gulf War. It had to be made clear to Saddam that aggression does not pay. Sanctions were the means of forcing Iraq to meet its obligations under Security Council Resolutions.
Iraq has not complied. On the contrary, Saddam continues to conceal his residual weapons of mass destruction capability. He has provided no compensation to war victims, including many Britons. He has returned no Kuwaiti property. He has accounted for none of the over 600 missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals.
Mr Rangwala defends Iraq's right to possess weapons. The UN Security Council does not demand the destruction of Iraq's conventional weapons; it does demand - rightly - that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction be destroyed.
Before the Gulf war Iraq possessed enough chemical and biological weapons to destroy the world's population several times over. Saddam's plans to procure and produce such lethal weapons pose a severe risk to the security of the region. They must be foiled for good. Until they are, sanctions must stay. The UN Security Council is unanimous on this.
Saddam's failure to meet the UN's demands prolongs the Iraqi people's suffering. He oppresses his people ruthlessly, with a sickening disregard for human rights. He spends Iraq's scarce reserves on military procurement and lavish palaces for his own use.
The UK has been active in helping to alleviate the Iraqi people's suffering. We co-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 986 which allows Iraq to sell oil to finance food, medicines and essential humanitarian projects. About pounds 800m worth of aid will flow to the Iraqi people over the first six months. We have already given them over pounds 90m in aid since 1991, making us the second largest donor.
I fear that the Iraqi people cannot expect to live anything like a normal life while Saddam remains. They would certainly be better off without him.
The Rt Hon JEREMY HANLEY MP
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign & Commonwealth Office