DfID said that population movements in northern Iraq are reported to have reduced and that the US military has reported that half the channel leading to Umm Qasr port has been cleared of mines.

Speaking in the House of Commons on 24 March, UK International Development Secretary Clare Short said UN action is required. ‘It is important that we are all clear that the most important humanitarian priority is to restore the operation of the oil-for-food programme,’ she said. ‘To achieve this, there is a need for a new Security Council resolution. The Secretary-General is making preparations and we are supporting his efforts to ensure that a suitable resolution is passed.’