Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Fourth Report


(a)We conclude that support by the United Kingdom Government for the targeted nature of the EU sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was well judged and believe this approach should be considered fully for any future application of sanctions (paragraph 8).
(b)We conclude that the support provided by the United Kingdom Government gave encouragement to the democratic opposition to Milosevic during both the election campaign and the subsequent transition period. We recommend that the Government take account of its successful strategy in Yugoslavia when providing support in the future to democratic movements in an autocratic state (paragraph 10).
(c)We welcome the FCO's assurance that it will examine the current disposition of EU humanitarian and economic funding to ensure that it takes adequate notice of the need to protect the most disadvantaged elements of the population in south-east Europe, and we look forward to seeing the results of this review (paragraph 16).
(d)We recommend that the Government attach a very high priority to providing assistance to the development of an independent and free media in Serbia (paragraph 21).
(e)We conclude that the encouragement of people-to-people links and the fostering of local democracy is of importance and believe the Local Government International Bureau has a key role to play in this regard. We therefore recommend that the FCO look favourably on requests for future funding of partnerships between local councils in the United Kingdom and those in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia. (Paragraph 24).
(f)We recommend that the FCO give serious consideration in the next round of budget negotiations to proposing a further reinforcement of the British diplomatic staff in Belgrade. Our experience convinces us that there is a need for the FCO to give serious consideration to the creation of a diplomatic rapid reaction force to make a speedy response whenever sudden political developments anywhere in the world require a dramatically increased diplomatic presence, for example in Macedonia now (paragraph 26).
(g)We recommend that the Government explore with the Yugoslav authorities ways in which it can be ensured that those indicted by the ICTY will be available for trial before the ICTY as soon as the relevant legislation has been enacted (paragraph 31).
(h)We recommend that the Government impress on the ICTY the need to be seen at all times to be acting even-handedly and efficiently in its dealings with all ethnic groups (paragraph 37).
(i)We recommend that the Government do all in its power to ensure that the ICTY has sufficient resources to enable it to deal promptly and efficiently with evidence presented to it (paragraph 39).
(j)We recommend that the Government encourage the Yugoslav authorities in their attempts to increase public awareness of the war crimes committed in the region, as a precondition for regional reconciliation and to increase public understanding of the role of the ICTY (paragraph 43).
(k)We conclude that, by allowing a prominent Croat accused of war crimes against Serbs to be tried by the domestic Croatian courts, the ICTY may have made it politically more difficult for the Yugoslav authorities to justify the extradition of Serbian war crimes suspects to the Hague. We welcome the fact that the ICTY has made it clear that the trials of Serbs accused of war crimes before the ICTY might take place in part in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (paragraph 47).
(l)We recommend that the Government, reminding the Yugoslav authorities of their obligations under international law, make it clear that a domestic trial of Milosevic on charges unrelated to war crimes can in no way be allowed to delay or supersede his trial before the ICTY for the war crimes of which he stands accused (paragraph 50).
(m)We recommend that the Government continue to put pressure on the Yugoslav authorities to pardon—or, where appropriate, retry fairly and in public—all Kosovo Albanian prisoners held in Serbian jails on charges of terrorism (paragraph 53).
(n)We conclude that there is a persuasive argument for saying that Montenegro has the right to seek independence, irrespective of the merits of it doing so. The decision to recognise a state is, of course, a matter for other states (paragraph 67).
(o)We conclude that Montenegrin independence will confirm the obvious for Kosovo: namely that there is no possibility of any form of association between Kosovo and Serbia for the foreseeable future beyond that which already exists. (Paragraph 73).
(p)We conclude that while the direct threat of Montenegrin independence to Macedonia's stability is limited, any encouragement which Montenegrin independence gives to independence for Kosovo represents a significant threat to Macedonia's cohesion. (Paragraph 75).
(q)We conclude that while Montenegrin independence would be likely to lead to increased demands for greater autonomy by other groups in the region, the problems caused by this would be slight when compared with other factors contributing to regional instability (paragraph 80).
(r)We conclude that heavy-handed opposition by the international community to Montenegrin independence is likely at best to have little effect, and at worst to be counter-productive (paragraph 90).
(s)Given that the Serbian and Yugoslav governments have said that they will accept a legal and peaceful unilateral declaration of independence by Montenegro, we recommend that the United Kingdom Government should be prepared to recognise Montenegro in the event that it has achieved its independence through a referendum which has been conducted freely and fairly (paragraph 92).
(t) We recommend that the Government should work to ensure that any elections and referendums held in Montenegro are free and fair and conducted to international standards, and that the rights of all social and ethnic groups within Montenegro—particularly those known to oppose independence—are fully respected (paragraph 95).
(u)We recommend that the Government both look at ways of increasing support to the independent media in Montenegro with immediate effect and make representations to the Montenegrin Government about the importance of balanced media reporting of the independence question in the run-up to a referendum (paragraph 96).
(v)We conclude that the maintenance of a positive neighbourly relationship between Montenegro and Serbia will be an important factor in the stability and prosperity of the region—and particularly of Montenegro—however the issue of Montenegrin independence is resolved. We therefore recommend that the United Kingdom Government impress on Montenegro—and on Serbia—that isolation is not an option, and that international assistance and European integration will depend on neighbourly co-operation and integration. (Paragraph 101).
(w)We conclude that the need for the FCO to have a permanent post in Montenegro is urgent. We note that the FCO has promised to look carefully at this issue. We wish to have the earliest possible response from the FCO on this conclusion; if possible in advance of the Department's response to the remainder of our Report (paragraph 102).
(x)We recommend that the FCO should press UN headquarters to examine what measures can be taken to improve the capacity of UN staff in Kosovo to manage the administration of Kosovo, and in particular whether more authority for hiring and firing staff can be devolved to the Special Representative in Kosovo, in line with the recommendations of the Brahimi report. We further recommend that the FCO press the European Commission to examine what changes can be made to improve the morale of EU staff posted to Kosovo, and to encourage staff to remain in Kosovo for longer postings. We conclude that making improvements in these areas is not just an issue for Kosovo, but for future missions of a similar sort (paragraph 105).
(y)We recommend that the Government urge UNMIK to consult closely with Belgrade before taking any decision as to the future of the Trepca mine complex (paragraph 109).
(z)We recommend that the Government work with its partners in the UN to take steps to strengthen significantly UNMIK's fragile hold on Kosovo. (Paragraph 114).
(aa)We conclude that the international police force in Kosovo is being asked to perform an extremely difficult policing task with inadequate staff. We recommend that the FCO confront the UN with the failings of the international police in Kosovo and work with UN headquarters to address these failings (paragraph 117).
(bb)We welcome the decision of the UN Secretariat to allow recently retired police officers with firearms training to serve in Kosovo. We recommend that the FCO take steps to bring this opportunity to the attention of retired officers (paragraph 118).
(cc)We recommend that the FCO encourage ACPO to change its policy and allow armed officers to perform executive tasks in international peacekeeping missions (paragraph 119).
(dd)We welcome the establishment of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, and the support that the Government has provided for it. However, we are concerned by the delay in its establishment and recommend that the FCO explain the reasons for this delay (paragraph 120).
(ee)We recommend that the Government do all it can to carry forward the Feira conclusions and the recommendations in the Brahimi report on the strengthening of international policing missions (paragraph 121).
(ff)We recommend that the FCO continue to press UNMIK and UN headquarters in New York to consider members of the United Kingdom legal profession for positions in Kosovo. We welcome the FCO's effort to bring up this issue again with the UN authorities, and wish to see the results of this as soon as they are available (paragraph 126).
(gg)We recommend that the Government do all it can to facilitate the work of the Special Envoy of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in his work on those deprived of their liberty as a result of the Kosovo conflict, including investigating the fate of those Serbs missing in Kosovo (paragraph 134).
(hh)We recommend that the Government encourage UNMIK to consult as widely and as transparently as possible on the future of Kosovo's democratic institutions (paragraph 142).
(ii)We conclude that, while there are unsatisfactory elements to the existing situation in Kosovo, immediate independence would be destabilising and reintegration with Serbia would be unlikely in any meaningful timescale. There is considerable scope within UNSCR 1244 for developing a political process aimed at resolving Kosovo's future, as well as developing "provisional democratic self-governing institutions." We recommend that the Government work with its international partners to ensure that the Kosovo Albanians are aware that the further development of those institutions will depend upon a sustained reduction in violence within Kosovo and across its borders. We believe that there should be a different level and intensity of dialogue with the Kosovo Albanians. Such a dialogue should seek to promote much more rapidly the assumption of control over the province through democratic institutions, and continuing aid and support for reconstruction and economic development, in return for cast iron guarantees that the Kosovo Albanians will uphold impartially internal law and order, security for the Serb minorities and the prevention of cross border violence into neighbouring Macedonia and Serbia. We further conclude that the mission in Kosovo is unlikely to be completed for several years. The British Government should be doing its utmost to persuade all those countries contributing to the peace process in Kosovo, including Russia and the United States, to make a commitment of both civilian and military personnel to Kosovo of sufficient length so that the progress achieved to date is built upon and not reversed (paragraph 146).
(jj)We welcome the efforts of the new administration in Belgrade to resolve the crisis in the Presevo valley by peaceful means. We also welcome NATO's commitment to ensure that the return of the Yugoslav army to the Ground Safety Zone will be "controlled" and "conditioned." Recalling the difficulties of the OSCE KVM monitors in Kosovo in 1998-99, we recommend that the Government work within NATO and the EU to ensure that any monitors have a clear mandate and are fully resourced to fulfil their mission. We further recommend that the Government make clear to the administration in Belgrade that it will be held responsible for protecting the human rights of all its citizens in the Ground Safety Zone (paragraph 159).
(kk)We conclude that the crisis in the Presevo valley represents a significant test for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, and for co-ordination between that policy and NATO. Failure in this area threatens what has been achieved so far in the Balkans, and we recommend that the Government act with its partners to address and contain the problem before it worsens (paragraph 160).
(ll)We recommend that the Government should work with the OSCE and the Council of Europe to ensure that the Macedonian census is conducted according to international standards, and that efforts are made to encourage the Albanian population to participate fully in the process (paragraph 161).
(mm)We express concern that NATO has not acted sufficiently rapidly or effectively to prevent the flow of arms and men across the border from Kosovo to Macedonia. We welcome NATO's efforts to improve its performance in this regard, and we recommend that KFOR act robustly to prevent the flow of arms and men from Kosovo into Macedonia. (Paragraph 164).
(nn)Macedonia has been a model in the region of a multi-ethnic and democratic government, which has not so far been the subject of widespread ethnic violence. If Macedonia should disintegrate into another Kosovo, Bosnia or Croatia, it would be a massive reverse for the United Nations, the EU and NATO. We recommend that the British Government take the most urgent steps to galvanize the international community into giving both the UN and NATO a clear remit to bring the situation in Macedonia under control and to counter Albanian extremist violence against Macedonia (paragraph 168).
(oo)We recommend that the Government should impress on the various authorities in Bosnia the importance of making Dayton work, and the urgent need to use the external funding provided to build effective political and commercial links between the Republika Srpska and the Muslim Croat Federation and to implement the reforms required by the international community (paragraph 171).
(pp)We recommend that the Government press NATO to cooperate fully with the proposed WHO study into depleted uranium, and that the Government give serious consideration to the possibility of providing funding for the study. (Paragraph 177).
(qq) We are concerned that there is inadequate FCO ministerial oversight of an area where considerable United Kingdom financial resources and personnel are committed and which has great relevance to the future stability of Europe, and where a window of opportunity exists to effect real change. We recommend that an FCO Minister visit the area urgently, and thereafter should visit on a more frequent basis (paragraph 178).
(rr)We recommend that the FCO and Trade Partners United Kingdom remain in close touch with the Danube Commission and update the Committee on progress on clearing the Danube to commercial traffic (paragraph 189).
(ss)During the last decade more than 90,000 have been killed in the Balkan wars and civil conflicts. At one time or another more than 4.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. NATO has been compelled to go to war for the first time in its history. More than 70,000 international troops, including 6,900 from the United Kingdom, maintain peace in Bosnia and Kosovo. This is certainly not a "quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing."[396]
Events in the Balkans cannot be separated from European security. The power of instant media coverage of the conflicts and humanitarian disasters is now a major foreign policy factor, forcing governments to act. Other than altruistic and humanitarian motives there is also a mutual self interest of Western European governments to prevent major refugee flows across porous boundaries. As this Report further underlines, what happens in Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo matters, and influences European security and stability.
Our report was prompted by the dramatic events in Belgrade in October 2000—a people's revolution which overthrew Milosevic. We have attempted to evaluate the consequences of these dramatic events not only upon Serbia but also upon the immediate issues confronting its neighbours, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia, and of course, upon United Kingdom and Western policy.
During the course of our deliberations we have identified that certain key assumptions at the centre of Western and UN policy are frankly unreal. There is precious little substance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Two parts of its territory are de facto outside its jurisdiction. In any meaningful timescale there is little or no likelihood that Kosovo will wish to enter into a relationship which could be considered remotely federal. Montenegro is about to embark on a referendum to consider seceding from the Federal Republic.
That does not mean, of course, that new relationships cannot be created in the future. There may come a time when mutual self interest will forge such a relationship; though it would be foolish to assume mutual economic interest will easily override the intense bitterness engendered by recent conflicts or endemic in historic experience.
Secondly, there is an unreal assumption both within the UN resolution 1244 and international policy pronouncements, that there is any likelihood in a meaningful timescale of a restored multi-ethnic Kosovo; while 100,000 Serbs live in enclaves, tightly guarded by KFOR, more than 100,000 refugees remain outside with little hope of returning. Albanian/Serb co-operation within Kosovo is marginal.
One of the more immediate challenges will be the issue of Montenegro's status. While we more than understand the reluctance of the international community to see further fragmentation, and conscious of the fact that such earlier secession fuelled conflict, we have concluded that Montenegrin independence, if endorsed by a free and fair referendum, should be manageable. A far greater threat to peace and stability are the unresolved issues surrounding Kosovo and Macedonia.
It was not our original intention to revisit Kosovo during this inquiry. But both events and unresolved issues have compelled us to do so. We call for an urgent and more intense dialogue with the Kosovo Albanians both to carry forward change within Kosovo and to stem Kosovo as a source of violence and conflict within neighbouring territories.
The growing tension and violence in Macedonia have a frighteningly similar pattern to that experienced in Bosnia. The British Government should take the most urgent steps to galvanize the international community into giving both the UN and NATO a clear remit to bring the situation in Macedonia under control and counter Albanian extremist violence against Macedonia.
However, amid an essentially gloomy and threatening situation, the real positive hope for the future of the region will be the development of a democratic and economically reformed Serbia/FRY. The source of much of the original conflicts, Serbia now has the capacity to be a powerful positive political and economic force, under courageous democratic leadership. The new democratic Serbia deserves the full support of the United Kingdom and international community (paragraph 190).

396   Neville Chamberlain, radio speech, 27 September 1938. Back

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