Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responding to the Committee's questions on Yugoslavia


1.  What assistance are (a) the EU and (b) the United Kingdom giving to the rebuilding of the economy in Serbia?

  (a)  The EU agree an emergency assistance package of 200 meuro (£122m) for the FRY in October 2000. This package is designed to focus on the immediate needs of Serbia and Montenegro, and will include heating supplies, food aid and medicine. The package will be administered by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and by the EU's Reconstruction Agency, which will open an office in Belgrade. Disbursement of the package began in mid-November and is expected to be completed by March. The EU is also providing on-the-spot technical advice to the Serbian and Federal Government's through the EC Delegation in Belgrade and a Commission secondee.

  The EU has co-operated closely with the Danube Commission to help to design and implement a 26 meuro (£16m) project to clear the Danube international waterway at Novi Sad in northern Serbia of debris and ordnance. This will restore full navigability. The EU will contribute 85 per cent of the total cost, up to a ceiling of 22 meuro (£13m).

  This short-term support builds on the EU assistance already provided to democratic local authorities and to the independent media since the Kosovo conflict, as well as ECHO's long-standing humanitarian programme. It will help to prevent the collapse of key sectors of the economy, and will alleviate hardship among the population. But it needs to be followed up with medium-term support for economic reform and infrastructure. This will be provided through the FRY's participation in the EU's new CARDS programme for South Eastern Europe, which will begin in 2001. Individual country allocations have not been decided, but the overall CARDS programme will allocate approximately 4.65 billion euros (£2.83 billion) over the period 2001-2006.

  The Stability Pact will also play an important role in the reintegration of Serbia into the region. The FRY was admitted to the Pact on 26 October and is being brought into the Pact's initiatives, including those aimed at increasing private investment, trade liberalisation and private sector and IT development in South East Europe (the investment and IT development initiatives have been UK-led). Infrastructure projects under the auspices of the Pact are the responsibility of the High Level Steering Group (HLSG), which met on 14 November and agreed a framework for delivering such assistance to Yugoslavia.

  (b)  The Department for International Development (DfID has allocated £13.4m for emergency assistance to Serbia. The intention is, in part, to help to fill any gaps that there may be in the major programme of immediate assistance being delivered through the European Commission. The package being provided by DfID comprises:

    (i)  £3.4m for the payment of arrears of family welfare benefits;

    (ii)  £2m for UNHCR for fuel, clothing and blankets, and for the weather-proofing of collective centres for an estimated 50,000 refugees;

    (iii)  £2m to the ICRC for protection activities, tracing, visiting, healthcare and emergency food aid;

    (iv)  £1.5m to NGOs established in Serbia, focused on support for winterisation;

    (v)  £1.5m to WFP to provide emergency food aid to approximately 700,000 people, of whom 225,000 are elderly;

    (vi)  £1m for UNICEF, to help restock health centres and adapt schools for the winter. The most crowded schools, and those with a high proportion of refugee children, will be targeted. Funds are intended to provide one hot meal a day;

    (vii)  £1m to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to provide bed linen, washing powder and essential items for social institutions, hospitals and old people's homes;

    (viii)  £0.7m for the WHO, to assist in the control of communicable diseases and for influenza vaccinations, particularly for the elderly and infirm;

    (ix)  £0.3m to support assessment of humanitarian needs by the Office of the Co-ordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

  DfID has also supported the establishment of an Aid Co-ordination Unit in the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations. Additionally, DfID has provided consultants on macro-economic reform, privatisation, telecommunications, banking reform and public administration reform. The objective of these consultancies has been to assist the authorities of the FRY to establish their own policy priorities and to assist them in preparations for their discussions with the World Bank and EC on long-term needs. The agreed framework for the FRY for FY 2000/01 is £7 million, which includes £5 million allocated to Kosovo.

  The Department of Trade and Industry has also announced assistance projects in Serbia, in the context of the new FRY Taskforce established by Trade Partners UK. These projects total approximately £1.3m and include:

    —  energy aid co-ordination: a team of sectoral specialists to advise on international assistance to the energy sector over a six-month period, working with the Serbian Ministry of Energy;

    —  donation of medical equipment to the Belgrade Clinical Centre (sufficient to equip nine operating theatres);

    —  installation of a new water pipeline across the new Varadin road bridge in Novi Sad (the previous water pipeline was destroyed along with the former bridge during the NATO campaign in 1999);

    —  an expert report on waste management facilities in Serbia, focussing on remedial work at landfill sites.

2.  What assistance are (a) the EU and (b) the United Kingdom giving to the reconstruction of war damage in Serbia?

  The overriding problem of the FRY economy is not the damage done during the Kosovo crisis, but the effect of years of neglect, mismanagement and corruption under Milosevic and of the isolation resulting from his policies. The basic criteria for EU and UK emergency assistance and reconstruction will be need and effectiveness. Some essential short-term projects—such as the EU-funded clearance of the Danube international waterway, the repair of the national electricity grid, and the UK-funded restoration of the water pipeline at Novi Said—will involve the restoration of damage incurred during the Kosovo conflict; others will not. Longer-term assistance from the IFIs will be linked to agreement on an economic reform programme, which will also be an essential precondition for attracting external direct investment.

3.  In the case of (1) and (2) above, how much of the assistance is new money? Where it is not new money, from what budget has the assistance been taken?

  Money for the 4.65 billion euro (£2.83 billion) EU aid programme for the Balkans (CARDS) is new money and will be allocated over 2001-2006 from the EU's aid budget (Category IV). The 200 meuro (£122m) emergency aid package announced at Biarritz and the 22 meuro (£13m) EU contribution to the clearance of the Danube come from previously unallocated funds in this year's Category IV budget.

  Of the £13.4m provided by DfID in immediate assistance, £12.4m has been provided from uncommitted humanitarian aid funds for 2000-01. £1 million has been provided from uncommitted funding for Central and South Eastern Europe. The cost of the technical assistance progrmame has been met from funds allocated to the FRY as part of the Central and South Eastern Europe budget in 2000-01.

  The approximately £1.3m provided by Trade Partners UK has come from 2000-01 programme budgets (Europe Command and the Business Group, £450,000) and from unallocated central DTI funds (£850,000).

4.  What progress is being made in the re-opening of the Danube to commercial traffic?

  The Danube Commission project to re-open the Danube (see answer to question number one) was held up for some time by Milosevic's refusal to allow the appointment of a Project Director. This problem was resolved with the election of President Kostunica. A Project Director was appointed on 16 October and tendering for the reconstruction projects is now underway. The Danube should be open to commercial traffic by summer 2001.

5.  What assistance are (a) the EU and (b) the United Kingdom giving to the establishment of democratic institutions in Serbia?

    (a)  EU assistance to Serbia over the last two years has supported the development of civil society and independent media. Despite the need to focus on humanitarian aid, the EU will continue to back these sectors, including through a new provision of two meuro (£1.2m) for the independent media as part of the autumn emergency aid package of 200 meuro (£122m). Support for democratic institutions, through the provision of technical assistance, will be available under the new CARDS programme starting in 2001.

    (b)  The UK has spent over £3m since the end of the Kosovo crisis through FCO programme budgets to support independent media and civil society in the FRY. This support included:

    —  aid to independent media outlets;

    —  aid to civil society and democratic authorities, including through joint FCO programmes with the British Association for Central and Eastern Europe and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy;

    —  projects with elections monitoring NGOs such as CeSID (Centre for Free Elections and Democracy);

    —  LGIB (Local Government International Bureau) projects designed to deepen the links between UK local authorities and democratic Serbian municipalities, focussing on the provision of technical assistance;

    —  projects focussing on legal reform and the reform of the Serbian judiciary.

    —  DfID has provided consultancy support for public administration reform. A strategy for long-term assistance will be drawn up in the light of the assessment of needs in the FRY being prepared by the World Bank and European Commission.

  The activities of the British Council and the BBC World Service are covered in the answers to questions 35 and 36.

6.  What is the Government's view of likely future developments in Vojvodina and the Sandjak area of Serbia?

  The Government welcomes the prospect of constructive political discussions within Serbia on the future internal structure of the Republic. These discussions will no doubt cover the decentralisation of decision-making and appropriate levels of autonomy. We welcome the establishment of a democratic Vojvodina Assembly, and the appointment of Mr Rasim Ljajic of the Sandjak Coalition as Federal Minister of Minorities. We believe that the new Federal Serbian Governments will approach these issues in a positive spirit.

7.  What is being done to re-establish a full diplomatic presence in Serbia? How will the Embassy be staffed?

  Diplomatic relations between the UK and the FRY were re-established on 17 November 2000. The British Interests Section (BIS) of the Embassy of Brazil in Belgrade has reverted to being the British Embassy and a new Ambassador is arriving in Post in January 2001. An FCO Management Review Team undertook an inspection of the Embassy in Belgrade on 20-24 November and its recommendations on staffing levels are being examined. Additional UK-based staff from the FCO, DTI and the MoD are likely to be required. The number of UK-based FCO and/or DfID staff devoted to technical and humanitarian assistance projects is also under consideration.

8.  To what extent, in HMG's judgement, were the changes in Belgrade the result of sanctions?

  It is impossible to quantify the exact role of sanctions in the events leading up to the Federal elections of 24 September and the subsequent changes. However, it is clear that one of the motives of the Serbian people in voting for the Democratic Opposition of Serbia and for Dr Vojislav Kostunica was the desire to return to normality, to stop living in a country cut off from the international community. EU sanctions were one element of this isolation—others were the FRY's exclusion from the IFIs, and from key international organisations such as the UN and OSCE. In particular we judge that the imposition of a carefully targeted EU sanctions regime in 1998-2000 was a significant factor in convincing the Serbian people that, under Milosevic, there was no prospect of a European future for Serbia or the FRY.

9.  What is the current status of any remaining sanctions against Yugoslavia? On what basis will any remaining sanctions be lifted?

  Following Vojislav Kostunica's democratic victory, the EU agreed to revise EU sanctions against the FRY. The EU oil embargo and flight ban were lifted with effect from 9 October. On 10 November, the ban on new investment and residual financial sanctions on Serbian companies were abolished. The visa ban list was also revised, with restrictions remaining in place only in relation to a list of persons close to Milosevic and the former regime whose financial assets will also remain frozen. This list will be subject to regular revision—those deemed to be no longer close to Milosevic will be removed.

  The EU arms embargo and the embargo on the supply to the FRY of equipment which might be used for internal repression or terrorism remain in force. The UN arms embargo and the prohibition on the arming and training for terrorist activities there also remain in place. The FRY authorities are not pressing for their lifting. These EU sanctions will be lifted when internal and regional security considerations permit. The UN sanctions will be lifted when the criteria set out in Security Council resolution 1160 (1998) have been met.

10.  Is the Government actively encouraging the European Commission to extend its tariff package rapidly to Yugoslavia? When can results be expected in this area?

  In line with commitments made at the Biarritz Informal European Council, the Council adopted a Commission proposal to extend the liberal autonomous trade measures (ATMs) to the FRY on 20 November. The ATMs allow for tariff free access into the EU for all industrial and most agricultural goods.

11.  The EBRD is now considering membership for Yugoslavia. Is the Government actively encouraging this process, and can it give evidence of this to the Committee? What conditions, if any, is the EBRD attaching to possible membership for Yugoslavia?

  HMG actively encouraged EBRD membership for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) through the EBRD's Board of Directors. The FRY was admitted to EBRD membership on 15 December.

  FRY membership was conditional on the FRY's acceptance, in accordance with its law, of the Agreement Establishing the Bank, and on confirmation by the FRY that all necessary steps have been taken to enable it to carry out its obligations under the Agreement. Article 1 of the Agreement sets out the requirement that countries in which the EBRD operates must be committed to and applying the principles of multi-party democracy, pluralism and market economics.

12.  Does it remain HMG's policy that there should be no amnesty for Milosevic and other indicted war criminals? What are the prospects of the delivery of indicted war criminals from Serbia to The Hague? What constraints are there on dealing with the new Yugoslav administration, given that there are still indicted war criminals in the government? What pressure is being exerted to hand over the criminals? What is HMG policy in the event that President Kostunica decides to reject the authority of the Hague tribunal?

  All individuals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) should be transferred to the authority of the ICTY to answer the charges that have been laid against them. UN member states have a clear obligation to co-operate fully with the ICTY, and we will continue to remind the Yugoslav authorities of their international obligation in this respect. As with Croatia, fulfilment of this obligation will be a necessary step in building a partnership with the European Union and the international community. In this context, we welcome the FRY's willingness to allow the ICTY to open an office in Belgrade, and Foreign Minister Svilanovic's public commitment to full co-operation with the ICTY. This appears to demonstrate that the Government of the FRY accepts the authority of the ICTY.

  Representatives of HMG will not have dealings with known ICTY indictees in the FRY. This applies to President of Serbia Milan Milutinovic, the only ICTY indictee still in government office in the FRY.

13.  What developments have there been in the work of the ICTY?

  To date, the ICTY has concluded 11 cases. There are currently 39 individuals in proceedings before the Tribunal, and 25 publicly indicted individuals remain at large. Support from HMG to the Tribunal in 2000 has included a British Scenes of Crime team in Kosovo for the second year running to gather evidence for the Tribunal. The team consisted of 42 police staff and 34 scientists. Its objective was to work with ICTY and UNMIK police to recover and identify human remains suspected to be of war crime victims. The British team exhumed a total of 425 sets of human and remains. This brings the total number of bodies recovered in 1999-2000 to 1,004.

14.  What are the current prospects of durable resolution of the future of the Federal Republic?

  It is premature to see any early durable resolution of Kosovo's status—but there are some encouraging signs of a better climate. The first stage will be to hold properly prepared Kosovo-wide elections and then, in due course, the final stage negotiations envisaged in UNSCR 1244. These future discussions between representatives of the residents of Kosovo and the authorities in Belgrade will have to provide for a durable resolution of the status of Kosovo.

  The constitutional relationship between Serbia and Montenegro will be examined in political negotiations between the authorities in Belgrade and Podgorica, starting in early 2001.

  This subject is covered in some detail in the Memorandum to the Foreign Affairs Committee on future developments in the FRY.

15.  How did the EU/HMG work with Russia in Serbia before the fall of Milosevic, and how is it intended to co-operate in the future? How effectively is Russia performing in Kosovo?

  The UK has a continuing bilateral political dialogue with Russia on the political situation in South Eastern Europe, including Serbia. At the multilateral level dialogue has been taken forward in the Contact Group, in the EU's formal bilateral contact with Russia, in the Security Council, in the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, and in other fora. We have a joint objective: a stable and prosperous Balkan peninsula.

  We are in full agreement with Russia on the need to resolve the status of Kosovo on the basis of UNSCR 1244. Russia supports the international effort in Kosovo through the United Nations, the OSCE and other organisations, and through its participation in KFOR.

16.  If HMG can update the Committee on the level of bilateral assistance to Kosovo, and whether there will be any reduction as a consequence of funding for Serbia?

  DFID has committed £15 million for technical assistance in support of capacity and institution building in Kosovo in the three Financial Years 2000-2002. This commitment is not affected by plans for assistance in Serbia.

17.  What have been the effects of the developments in Belgrade on the likelihood of establishing a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo? What progress has been made in returning Serb refugees to Kosovo, and in enabling Serbs to live in safety in Kosovo? We note that Dr Kouchner no longer speaks of a "multiethnic society" as an aim of international policy in Kosovo but rather "coexistence". What is the significance of this shift?

  We believe the new Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia shares our aim of establishing a society in Kosovo where ethnic communities can live together in harmony. HMG supports President Kostunica's objective of encouraging Serb and other refugees to return to Kosovo, but recognises that if this is to be achieved it will have to be done step by step. Returns, both spontaneous and organised, have been limited so far. In part this is due to disinformation by the Milosevic regime, but it is also due to continued security concerns in Kosovo. Returns by Kosovo Serbs are usually conducted independently, and it is therefore not possible to make an estimate of numbers.

  In April the international community established with representatives of the Kosovo Serbs a Joint Committee on Returns as a working forum in which to discuss the practical realities of Serb returns. It has also supported a number of specific return projects, with the UK (and UK KFOR personnel in particular) playing a leading role, including through "Operation TROJAN", which covers a large number of projects in the UK led KFOR sector of Kosovo, aimed at improving the security and welfare of the Serb community.

  UNMIK maintains its approach to foster returns. The international community will continue its efforts to promote tolerance, which is an essential condition for a successful returns programme.

18.  What is the present position of the other vulnerable minority communities in Kosovo, especially Roma and Muslim Slavs?

  Sizeable communities from non-Albanian or non-Serb ethnic minorities continue to live in Kosovo, for the most part peacefully, and are represented on both local and regional bodies. Some (particularly Roma) have sought refuge outside Kosovo over the last few years, but we hope they will soon return. Ethnically-motivated crime has reduced in Kosovo, but isolated incidents continue, including against non-Serb minorities, especially Roma (some Roma were alleged to have collaborated with Yugoslav/Serbian security forces during their repressive campaigns in Kosovo). The deplorable murder of four Ashkali (Albanian-speaking Muslim Roma) men on 9 November is an example of continuing problems. There are some indications that the situation is stabilising for the Muslim Slav communities in Kosovo. But they remain reluctant to use their own language in public for fear of being mistaken as Serbs and this can restrict their freedom of movement and access to jobs and services. The international community will continue to offer support to all these communities, and KFOR, UNMIK and the police in Kosovo will take strong action against anyone found guilty of ethnically-motivated crime.

19.  What is the current level of inter-ethnic violence and intimidation in Kosovo?

  Levels of ethnically-motivated crime and violence have diminished significantly since 1999, although the cumulative effect of individual incidents of violence has been to leave the continued perception among minorities that they are not secure. UNMIK police statistics suggest that the overall murder rate has fallen from over 50 per week in June 1999 to around two per week (in November 1999), and that between July 1999 and October 2000, 350 of 665 murders (and attempted murders) were against ethnic minorities, while 331 were against Kosovo Albanians. No ethnic breakdown is available for incidents of intimidation. By far the majority of crime, including a proportion of inter-ethnic crime, is now related to "conventional" criminal activity, which the international community is seeking to address actively, in particular through the creation of a Criminal Intelligence Unit in Kosovo (which will be headed by a UK officer, and is now in the process of being established).

20.  What progress in being made on the release of Kosovan detainees in Serbia and Montenegro?

  The new Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is working on detailed proposals for an amnesty for political prisoners, including significant numbers of Kosovo Albanians. There has been contact between the FRY Government and UNMIK on this issue, as well as an attempt by FRY Government representatives to contact the families of those detained. We welcome such moves, as well as the release on 1 November of Dr Flora Brovina, and have made clear in contacts in Belgrade that we hope to get all freed as soon as possible. The International Committee of the Red Cross has regular access to those who remain detained.

21.  What progress is being made on the identification of the dead and missing as a result of the Kosovan conflict?

  With other humanitarian organisations, the International Committee of the Red Cross is working to trace the missing and has posted their details in a "Book of the Missing" website. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) continues its work on the exhumation of mass graves, and the identification of bodies that are found. The international community has called on all leaders in the region to provide what support they can to this effort. The UK has played a significant role in this effort, including by sending forensic teams to assist ICTY. Six teams in total were there from June to October 1999 and from April to October 2000.

22.  What evidence has there been of illegal activities by members of the KPC?

  The KPC's activities are monitored by KFOR and UNMIK, and it is reported to be in substantial compliance. The majority of the occasional lapses have been by individual members, and all incidents of non-compliance are subject to strict disciplinary action, in many cases by the KPC itself.

23.  What is the current situation in Mitrovica and the Presevo Valley?

  The situation in Mitrovica remains calm. Attempts are being made to encourage returns to both sides of the river in Mitrovica, and we hope that recent changes in Belgrade may prompt greater progress in this direction.

  Following the recent provocative actions by Albanian extremists elements, tension has increased in the Presevo Valley. Serbian/Yugoslav security forces have so far shown restraint, and the authorities in Belgrade have underlined their commitment to adhere to the terms of UNSCR 1244 and the Military Technical Agreement. Dialogue between KFOR/NATO and the Yugoslav authorities has helped to lower tensions. HMG and its international partners will continue to press for a peaceful resolution to this situation, based on dialogue between the authorities in Belgrade and the locally elected representatives of the residents of Presevo valley region.

24.  Is HMG considering amending the Police Act 1996 to allow officers from English and Welsh forces to perform executive functions in international missions? What reasons did the British Transport Police give for their unwillingness to contribute police officers in Kosovo?

  The Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers have recently taken separate legal advice on the provisions of Section 26 of the Police Act 1996, which gives police authorities in England and Wales the power to provide advice and assistance to international organisations and police forces outside the United Kingdom. The advice confirms that, as a matter of law, there is no reason why police officers should not be provided under Section 26 for operational duties abroad. It is therefore a matter of policy as to whether police authorities wish to provide police officers for such duties. ACPO's present policy is not to provide armed officers performing executive tasks to international peacekeeping missions.

  The British Transport Police are currently unable to participate as there are still pension and insurance issues to be resolved. But they have not ruled out participating in international missions in the future.

25.  What progress has been made towards achieving the target police force levels in Kosovo?

  The UN International Police (UNIP) now number 4,454 (as at 20 November), against a mandated strength of 4,718. The current UK contribution to UNIP is 62 RUC officers, 55 Ministry of Defence Police officers, and 19 police and specialist officers in the Criminal Intelligence Unit. In addition, there are 38 UK police Officers at the OSCE Police Training School.

26.  What progress has been made in the reconstruction of the economy and infrastructure of Kosovo? What are the current levels of unemployment?

  Responsibility for reconstruction of the economy falls to the EU pillar of UNMIK. Considerable progress has been made in the reconstruction of Kosovo, both under the auspices of the international community and as a result of local initiative. Attention focussed initially on the rebuilding of housing and basic infrastructure, but more effort and resources have gradually been targeted at economic regeneration. Although UNMIK has had to focus to a large extent on immediate needs over the past year, there has been progress in mapping out a programme of future activities, notably through the capital investment programme set out in the Kosovo 2000 document, and in the recently produced "White Paper" on enterprise reform.

  In addition to the damage suffered during the conflict, Kosovo suffered from three decades of poor economic decisions. In the 1970s and 1980s capital intensive investments failed to generate enough jobs to absorb the rapidly growing population. In the 1990s Milosevic starved the province of new investment and diverted its assets to Belgrade.

  The European Agency for Reconstruction is the main body through which reconstruction efforts are being focused. The Agency has provided a programme of 360 million euros in 2000, covering road repair, health and water provision, housing construction and agriculture. The Agency has also made a major contribution to the rehabilitation of power generation facilities and the coal mines that serve them. This is essential for the functioning of industry. The Agency is preparing a programme of a similar size and scope for 2001. USAID is also making a significant contribution (about half the planned size of the European Agency's contribution), with a smaller programme being undertaken by the World Bank.

  According to a survey in May 2000 by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the unemployment rate in Kosovo is 50 per cent, with 43 per cent in urban areas and 57 per cent in rural areas. Unemployment rates in some municipalities are thought to be much higher.

27.  How much progress has been made with respect to privatisation of Kosovo's medium and large-scale enterprises and to drafting a legal framework appropriate for a market-based economy?

  UNMIK has made encouraging progress on the regulatory basis for business and private sector development. It has also agreed and published a "White Paper" on enterprise reform.

28.  What conclusions can be drawn from the results of the local elections in Kosovo? What progress has been made in the development of Kosovo-wide institutions? What further steps will be taken to develop democratic institutions in Kosovo?

  HMG welcomes the results of the 28 October municipal elections in Kosovo. This is the first major step in the democratisation of Kosovo, and the return of power and responsibility to its people. The high turnout is an indication of the desire of Kosovo's people to support democracy in Kosovo. The high level of support for the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), led by Dr Rugova, appears to suggest strong support for moderation and dialogue as the way forward for Kosovo.

  Discussions have been held in the Contact Group and in other fora on the possible shape of future provisional institutions for Kosovo, in line with the provisions of UNHCR 1244. Decisions on the final shape of these bodies, to be put in place following Kosovo-wide elections, are a matter for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

29.  What progress can now be expected in resolving Kosovo's future status? UNSCR 1244 tasks the international civil presence with "facilitating a political process designed to determine Kosovo's future status". When and in what form does the Government envision such a process of clarification taking place? What discussions have been held with the Governments in Belgrade and Podgorica on this? What would the implications be of a Montenegrin declaration of independence for Kosovo? What is HMG's view of any proposal for equality of status for Montenegro and Kosovo in a Federal Yugoslav Republic? What evidence is there of changing US attitudes towards the independence of Kosovo?

  Kosovo's future status will be addressed in due course through a political process facilitated by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. No timescale has been set for such a process, which can only take place once both the authorities in Belgrade and the elected representatives of the communities of Kosovo are ready to engage in earnest on this issue. There have been no detailed discussions between UK representatives and the Governments in Belgrade and Podgorica on this issue. Our exchanges with them on this subject have been limited to confirmation that this is an issue that will need to be addressed in due course.

  A Montenegrin declaration of independence would be an extra factor to be taken into consideration in the political process to address Kosovo's future. It is likely that it would increase pressure in Kosovo for independence.

  The proposal for equality of status for Montenegro and Kosovo in a Federal Yugoslav Republic could be an option, but any such decision will be for the authorities in Belgrade and the elected representatives of the communities of Kosovo following engagement in the political process facilitated by UNMIK. HMG remains open to any proposal on the future of Kosovo, and is in principle ready to support any agreement reached peaceably between the parties. At the time of writing, we understand this was also the view of the US Administration.


30.  What further support has HMG provided to Montenegro? What is the current position on EU assistance to Montenegro? How much of the assistance (in both cases) will be new money?

  The FCO is supporting several Westminster Foundation for Democracy projects in support of the media and civil society in Montenegro. Around £50,000 has been allocated for projects aimed at support for:

    —  development of the NGO sector in partnership with the NGO "Association for Democratic Prosperity";

    —  provision of human rights training in association with the UK-based NGO "AIRE Centre" and the Montenegro-based Centre for Democracy and Human Rights;

    —  independent newspaper development including the provision of equipment and advice on advertising strategies/increasing circulations;

    —  capacity building for women's groups.

  This funding comes from unallocated programme money for the FRY.

  DfID is running a programme of technical assistance to the Government of Montenegro, which includes help for: the Privatisation Council; public administration reform; the development and implementation of a strategy for regulation of privatised utilities; and support to the authorities on proposals to introduce VAT and to establish an Audit Commission. DfID is continuing discussions with the Montenegrin authorities on other possible areas of support for the planning of public finances. Funding is from the £7m allocation for the FRY referred to in the answer to question one.

  The EU has provided 52 meuro (£31.6m) in aid to Montenegro in 2000: 12 meuro (£7.3m) in food aid, 20 meuro (£12.2m) in exceptional financial assistance and 20 meuro (£12.2m) in aid for reconstruction and infrastructure projects. These funds were previously unallocated. Montenegro, as part of the FRY, will be eligible for the new CARDS funding; country allocations have yet to be decided.

31.  What is the current state of relations between the Governments in Belgrade and in Podgorica? What are the implications of the current representation of Montenegro in Federal institutions? Will the UK recognise Montenegro if it declares independence?

  Since his inauguration, FRY President Kostunica has held several meetings with President Djukanovic of Montenegro, including in the context of the Supreme Defence Council. Both Presidents attended the Zagreb Summit on 24 November as part of the FRY delegation. There has also been extensive contact between the coalition parties in Montenegro and the democratic parties in Serbia, who are participating in the Serbian and Federal Governments.

  We believe that these contacts show that goodwill exists on both sides, as well as a common determination to re-examine the structures of the FRY in an open and democratic manner. A formal negotiation between the Serbian and Montenegrin Governments is planned to begin after the formation of the new Serbian Government, following the 23 December elections. This should also tackle the question of Montenegrin representation in Federal institutions (where the situation is extremely unclear).

  The UK is not in favour of Montenegrin independence. We believe that a democratic restructuring of the FRY agreed between Belgrade and Podgorica and approved by the Serbian and Montenegrin people provides the best chance for regional stability.

32.  What is HMG's assessment of the likelihood of violence in Montenegro in the event of a declaration of independence?

  We do not assess that outbreaks of violence are likely in Montenegro in the near future. The Montenegrin Government has committed itself to a political negotiation with the Serbian Government on the future of the FRY, and then to a referendum. Full observance of an open and democratic process is the best way of avoiding violence and other forms of unrest.

33.  Will a visa issuing consulate general now be established in Podgorica?

  The FCO is considering a number of options for expanded activity in Montenegro. The re-opening of the Embassy in Belgrade allows for much greater coverage of Montenegro than was possible from London or from other regional posts. We will be looking at consular and visa-issuing requirements as part of the overall review of diplomatic representation in the FRY.


34.  What are the likely consequences of developments in Belgrade for (a) Bosnia and (b) Macedonia?

  (a)  The election of FRY President Kostunica has removed one of the most serious impediments to implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until the collapse of his regime, Milosevic actively promoted instability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly within Republika Srpska. Under his regime, the FRY was in violation of key commitments under the Dayton Peace Agreement and the FRY itself posed an active security threat to Bosnia and Herzegovina. President Kostunica has committed the FRY to upholding the Dayton Agreement and has no interest in promoting instability in Republika Srpska. Diplomatic relations between the FRY and Bosnia and Herzegovina have now been established. Following on the heels of the Croatian elections in early 2000, Bosnia and Herzegovina no longer faces any external challenges to its sovereignty.

  (b)  The emergence of Serbia from its isolation has important consequences for Macedonia. Macedonia's economy will benefit substantially from the reopening of traditional transit routes to central and western Europe. A source of political destabilisation, always potential and sometimes real, has disappeared with the Milosevic regime. There have already been encouraging moves towards improved relations between the FRY and Macedonia, including President Trajkovski's official visit to Belgrade on 29 December and agreement between the two countries to resolve outstanding border issues.

  In so far as the changes in Belgrade represent a conclusive victory of the forces of integration over those of disintegration, we should expect a strengthening of those in Macedonia who are committed to ethnic inclusiveness, notably to integrating the ethnic Albanian community fully into Macedonian society.

35.  What is the current level of activity by the BBC World Service in Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia? What plans are there to reinforce this? Is the World Service making itself available on FM as well as on shortwave?

  The World Service broadcasts to the region in English, Albanian, Croatian, Macedonian and Serbian, with all languages also available in audio on the internet. So far as the countries detailed in the question are concerned, it broadcasts in Albanian for 10.75 hours a week and in Serbian for 11.75 hours a week. It has also recently started specially targeted programmes for Bosnia and Montenegro.

  The World Service broadcasts to the region on short wave and FM. It has good FM coverage, especially in Kosovo and Bosnia: nine FM rebroadcasters in Kosovo, 23 in Bosnia, four in Serbia (where FM services were re-established in October), and 10 in Montenegro.

  The World Service recognises the need to improve its audibility further through additional FM rebroadcasting partnerships and medium wave. It intends to make increased resources available over the next three years so that it can play an effective part, through competitive programming, in reconstruction in the region.

  The BBC World Service Trust runs a school for journalists in Sarajevo. It also aims—with the help of funding coordinated through the Stability Pact and European project partners—to open a European Centre for Broadcast Journalism in Belgrade, with a branch in Podgorica, to train journalists from across the region.

36.  What is the current level of activity by the British Council in Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia? What plans are there to reinforce this? What is being done to re-establish British Council offices in Serbia?


  The British Council operation in Kosovo was established in September 1999 and a public information centre opened in June 2000, offering information, education advice and English medium resources to teachers and learners of English, university students and young professionals. A number of successful, cutting-edge arts events have been organised, most recently the Random Dance Company. The British Council is also involved in the education reform process, in co-operation with the UNMIK education department (chiefly through the provision of training for English teachers at primary and secondary school level). The British Council works closely with the British Office in Pristina, and with other UK and international organisations (eg DfID, Crown Agents, CIDA, USIS).


  Although the British Council library in Belgrade remained closed for 18 months following the Kosovo conflict, discreet activity, managed by local staff, was maintained. This entailed assistance to individuals, either to sustain or to create personal links with the UK, a small programme of support for English teachers, and participation by UK artists at a number of the international arts festivals (the Random Dance Company performed in Belgrade on election day to considerable acclaim). Throughout this period, the demand for UK English language examinations continued to grow. The library was reopened two days after the lifting of EU sanctions. Even without publicity the library has been receiving several hundred visitors each day.


  The British Council reopened its office in September 1999, since when it has been involved in a wide range of projects in support of the Montenegrin government's reform programme, including winning the contract for an EU OBNOVA education reform project. It has moved to smart new premises and now offers an enhanced range of public information and educational services, including internet access. It is significant that most of these activities, including the cost of the Council's premises, have been co-funded by the Montenegrin government.


  The British Council operation has matured since the initial period of crisis response. It focuses chiefly on the arts, education and information services, and the English language. In all these areas, it is a fundamental principle to ensure that activity reaches people in all parts of Bosnia. There has been considerable success in bringing together English language teachers for training events, and English teachers' associations have been set up in both the Federation and Republic Srpska.

  Plans for reinforcing operations

  In the context of its new global strategy, the British Council will be increasing resources for all its operations in the Western Balkans over the next five years.

  Re-establishing offices in Serbia

  The British Council Office and library in Belgrade are now open for normal business, and a new UK-based Director has been recruited. There are no plans to establish offices outside Belgrade but there will be increased activity in these regions through information services, educational services (eg distance learning and examinations), civil society projects and arts events. The British Council will focus more of its activities on young people (students and young professionals) while continuing to engage with those in authority in order to support the process of democratic change. Negotiations are already in progress for the British Council to move to new premises in Belgrade in the first half of 2001.

37.  What information does the Government have of the level of organised crime in Kosovo and the region? What steps have been taken to fight this organised crime?

  Crime is widespread in Kosovo and in many parts of the region, which is a source and transit point for illegal trafficking of various types. These activities are controlled for the main part by organised criminal enterprises.

  Although Kosovo has its own peculiarities, the activities of local criminal groupings should not be looked at in isolation from the larger picture of Albanian-organised crime throughout the region. Reliable crime statistics are not yet produced within the region, but the UK Government estimates that 60-70 per cent of Albania's $5bn GDP is generated by criminal activities, and the figure for Kosovo is likely to be higher.

  To counter organised crime in Kosovo, the UK has helped to finance the establishment of the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) there. The UK makes the largest contribution of personnel to the CIU with a team of 20 secondees from NCIS, HM Customs and the Police. The Unit is expected to be fully operational by February 2001 and will enable a more focussed approach to information gathering and the targeting of criminal groups within the country. In Albania, we are contributing over £1 million a year in support of the Western European Union's Multinational Advisory Police Element, designed to strengthen the overall capacity of the Albanian police.

  The EU, the United Nations, the OSCE and the Stability Pact are all contributing to the strengthening of judicial and law enforcement institutions in the region and are encouraging co-operation between Governments there. In this respect, it is encouraging that at the Zagreb Summit on 24 November regional Heads of Government committed themselves to co-operate in the fight against crime. The UK played a leading role in arguing for the inclusion of this commitment in the Zagreb declaration—we are now working with EU partners to ensure it is followed up.

38.  How is the UK working to enhance the capacity of civilian police in peace-support operations generally (in the light of slowness to deploy and unevenness of national performance in Kosovo)?

  As the Foreign Secretary indicated in his speech at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, FCO and Home Office officials are working closely with the police forces to enhance the UK's capacity to respond to situations like that in Kosovo. The proposed new system (details of which will be announced shortly) will include a Rapid Response Squad, ready for deployment when it is urgently needed.

  In this context, the UK is also working closely with other EU member states to enhance the EU's civilian police capacity to participate in international missions. At the Feira European Council in June, EU member states agreed a target of 5,000 police officers to be available for international missions by 2003, 1,000 of whom would be available at short notice.

  The UK has been working to a similar agenda within the OSCE, which adopted measures in June to improve its capability to respond more quickly and effectively to crises through the despatch of Rapid Expert Assistance and Co-operation Teams (REACT). The aim is for the OSCE to be able to deploy civilian personnel (including police), with a range of conflict prevention and resolution skills tailored to the requirements of a particular crisis, anywhere in the OSCE area, when required. As part of this, the OSCE has created an Operations Centre to plan and co-ordinate the rapid, as well as regular, deployment of international staff to OSCE missions. The success of this initiative, agreed at the Istanbul Summit, will depend on the commitment and will of the OSCE participating states to provide the necessary personnel within the requisite timescale. In line with our current policy, the UK aims to provide about 10 per cent of the OSCE's overall deployment of personnel to the field.

  The FCO hosted a "Train the Trainers" course at Bramshill from 20 November to 1 December for experienced civilian police trainers from seven different countries, all of whom are contributors to UN police missions.

39.  What developments have there been in building up a new international consensus on humanitarian intervention?

  The UK remains in the forefront of efforts to build international consensus on the conditions and circumstances for international action in response to humanitarian crises. International partners have responded constructively to the UK's initial proposals, which we are further developing in light of the on-going debate. We have focused our efforts particularly within the Security Council: we believe the Council should take the lead in responding to massive violations of humanitarian law and crimes against humanity, given the threat they pose to international peace and security.

  We have also welcomed initiatives by other states to help build consensus on this issue. The UK has participated in three conferences hosted by the Netherlands, most recently on 20 November during their Presidency of the UN Security Council. In September, the Canadian Foreign Minister launched the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. The purpose of the Commission is "to contribute to building a broader understanding of the issues and to fostering a global political consensus on how to move forward". The Foreign Secretary is a member of the Commission's Advisory Board and the UK also belongs to the Group of Interested States contributing government perspectives to the Commission's work.

40.  What measures is the UK taking in response to the Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (Brahimi report) as regards future situations of a similar nature to Kosovo?

  The UK has welcomed the findings of the Brahimi Panel, and the proposals subsequently put forward by the UN Secretary-General for implementing the recommendations which it has made. These are essential elements in overall UN reform. In particular, Brahimi addresses (i) the need which recent UN peacekeeping missions have highlighted for a more co-ordinated UN capacity for rapid response to crises; and (ii) suggestions for enhanced UN early warning and analytical capabilities.

  We are working with other UN and EU partners, through both the General Assembly's Special Committee on Peace Keeping Operations and the Security Council Working Group on Brahimi, towards achieving consensus on implementation of the Brahimi recommendations. We also remain in close dialogue with the UN Secretariat on these issues.

41.  What assessment has been made of the reasons for NATO's failure to predict Milosevic's response (in terms of escalation in ethnic cleansing) to the commencement of the bombing campaign?

  As HMG noted in paragraphs 11 to 13 of its response to the Foreign Affairs Committee's Fourth Report of 1999-2000 (CM 4825), we and NATO were aware that the Milosevic regime had plans to intensify repression in Kosovo in Spring 1999, and that this was likely to cause widespread internal displacement, and possibly to force some refugees out of Kosovo altogether. Warnings of the potential for refugee movements were passed on by NATO to UNHCR. But no-one could reasonably have predicted the savagery of Milosevic's actions, and the extent of the suffering which it unleashed. However, as the Committee has recognised, had NATO not acted there would have been no external means to prevent further offensives being pursued over time by Milosevic's forces.

42.  Was any warning given by NATO to the Milosevic regime that broadcasting stations in Belgrade would be bombed?

  The Milosevic regime was well aware of the types of targets which might be attacked. Reporting of the action underway in Yugoslav courts against the former management of Radio Television Serbia (RTS) suggests that the management believed there was a threat, but purposely hid this from their employees.

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