Thatcher urges 'mercy mission' to fleeing Kurds

Thatcher urges 'mercy mission' of tents and food to fleeing Kurds

By Michael Simms:

The Guardian: Thursday 4th April, 1991

MARGARET Thatcher led forceful calls in Britain yesterday for immediate international action to help the Kurds. After receiving a deputation of Kurdish exiles at her home in Belgravia, she said it was not the time for "legal niceties". The Kurds had appealed to her as "a mother and a grandmother" to use her influence with the Prime Minister and President Bush, but she carefully avoided any hint of conflict with the policies being outlined by her successor.

She declined to mention any need for renewed military intervention by the allied forces, or by anyone else. "It should not be beyond the wit of man to get planes there with tents, with food, and with warm blankets." she said. "I think we should take very firm steps. We should go now - it is a real mercy mission."

Dr Dlawer Ala'Aldeen. of the Kurdish Scientific and Medical Association said Mrs Thatcher promised to do all she could to help. "She was very sympathetic, she was very understanding and she has been very well informed about the situation." Mrs Thatcher said later that she had agreed to meet the Kurdish deputation after hearing radio reports describing the "pitiful state" of refugees in the mountains bordering Turkey.