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Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, for their supportive and deeply considered interventions on this very serious topic. Even before the tragic events of the weekend, I believe the whole House was aware, as the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, so eloquently pointed out, of

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the tremendous dangers of a conflagration arising from the situation in Kosovo which could spread well beyond the borders of the former Yugoslavia. That lends added urgency to the situation. I hope that in any case we should act with great urgency when such humanitarian outrages were taking place, especially on the Continent of Europe, but anywhere.

I shall attempt to address as many of the points raised as I can. If I miss any, perhaps I may write to the noble Lord and the noble Baroness. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, raised the question of what the Government could do further to help Judge Louise Arbour. As the House has heard, she tried today to enter Kosovo and was refused entry. The ICTY was set up by the United Nations. It is responsible and answers to the United Nations, and it is to the UN that she will make her report. This will undoubtedly be one of the issues to be discussed at the special meeting of the Security Council in New York later today. I assure the House that we shall be energetic in trying to advance the question of what can be done to help. We will certainly co-operate with whatever decision is taken in that regard by the Security Council.

The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, asked about the status of the October agreement. The agreement is still in place. The fact that the Serbs are not fully compliant is part of the reason why Generals Clark and Naumann are going tomorrow to Belgrade to tell President Milosevic that he accepted the terms of the agreement. They will point out again what those terms should have entailed for him. They will also point out the continuing implication of a military response if the agreement is not honoured.

That answers another question put to me by the noble Lord. The ACTORD for limited air operations remains in place. Noble Lords would not expect me to comment further on when or in what precise situation force would be used. We should act in accordance with international law. I have no doubt that that will be forcefully pointed out to President Milosevic tomorrow.

On the question of sanctions, all the agreed UN, EU and Contact Group financial sanctions are still in place.

The noble Lord mentioned the difficulty regarding unarmed KVM monitors. He referred to the idea of restraining violence. The KVM is not there to restrain violence; its task is to verify and report back to the OSCE on the situation on the ground. That is the rule--not to try to place themselves between two warring factions, and even less to try to disarm them.

Warm words have been used on all sides of the House in relation to the Kosovo Verification Mission, and they are well deserved. We wish to give the monitors our thanks for carrying out an extremely difficult and dangerous job. They are doing that job very well.

Their mission has already demonstrated their ability to make a real difference to the situation on the ground. Ambassador Walker, who heads the mission, and General Drewienkiewicz, who is the British deputy head of mission, were instrumental in negotiating the local cease-fire at Podujevo during the Christmas weekend. Over the whole area they have negotiated a number of less publicised local cease-fires. British personnel

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played a key role in the negotiations for the safe release of the eight abducted soldiers and, as stated in the press, secured their safe release on 13th January. So they have already demonstrated that they are playing a valuable role. They cannot do everything; they certainly cannot do things that they were not intended to do. Sadly, it is very difficult for international communities and governments, as well as the monitors, to make peace between two groups of people who are determined to go to war with one another.

The strength of the OSCE monitors was raised by both the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and the noble Baroness. Perhaps I may clarify the situation. The KVM chief of operations, Major General Drewienkiewicz, expects that 2,000 personnel will eventually be deployed. There are currently 855 personnel deployed. The general has requested a period of consolidation for the staff who are already deployed. He anticipates a total of around 1,200 personnel on the ground by the end of January. Some of the personnel yet to be deployed are specialist staff, including police trainers and election organisers, who will be required following a political settlement rather than at this unhappy stage.

Although we have tended to skirt around the fact, as the noble Baroness observed from her visit, both sides are preparing for war. That can be observed in everything one reads about the situation. That is what we must try to address. Generals Clark and Naumann will take a very strong message to President Milosevic and they will wait to see his reaction after tomorrow. We cannot repeat more strongly, and we take every opportunity to try to get the message across to the KLA, that this is a war that it cannot win. The trouble is, this is a war that neither side can win. The challenge for us all is to get that message across to both sides.

5.19 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Croy: My Lords, the atrocious incident that gave rise to the Statement occurred after my Question last Thursday and the helpful reply then from the noble Baroness, Lady Symons, on behalf of the Government. I asked about the unarmed monitors. I now ask: will the safety of those monitors be constantly borne in mind? Many of them are British. Has the NATO force standing by in Macedonia yet reached its proposed numbers, and is it ready to go in and help to bolster the monitors, if necessary? They could be subject to resentment at the international reaction because it is clear that detachments of Serb army and police appear to become completely out of control, as in this latest atrocity. I should be grateful if the Minister could address that point.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, for that question. The NATO Extraction Force is now fully staffed and became operational on 15th January, and that is a very relevant factor. The NATO force was put in place because we knew it was necessary, but we should emphasise that the existence of that force and the fact that it is now fully operational does not take away from Belgrade the primary responsibility for ensuring the safety and security of verifiers and all international

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personnel in Kosovo. It is important to keep the spotlight firmly on President Milosevic and his forces. As the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, said, it sometimes appears that these forces become out of control. On the other hand, as the noble Baroness said, she doubts that much is done on the ground that is not sanctioned by the High Command in Belgrade. We do not know where the truth of all that lies; all we know is that we have the right to expect a well disciplined army and police force and that they should protect the safety and security of verifiers and all international personnel. I can at least assure the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, that the NATO Extraction Force is now fully manned.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, I apologise for not having been in my place for the opening phrases of the Statement. The noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, suggested that a peacekeeping force should be stationed in northern Albania. I support that suggestion and would even go a stage further. Would it not be a good use for NATO forces--for example, those now in Macedonia--and other rapid reaction groups to establish one or more safe havens within Kosovo? These might be located either on the frontier with Macedonia or the frontier with Albania. Their purpose would be inter alia to enable refugees to return and to enable rehabilitation of the large numbers of the local Kosovan population who have been internally displaced. Will the Baroness and her colleagues consider the size and scale of such safe havens? I envisage that they would be no larger than could be effectively controlled by the forces available for that purpose.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, for that suggestion, which we shall consider. Safe havens have pluses and minuses. We have some experience of them in Iraq, which was a special situation. I do not say that this is the case with the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, but sometimes safe havens are thought of as an easy solution. In fact, they sometimes bring more problems than they solve. However, I shall consider his suggestion.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, can the noble Baroness say a little more about British policy on the Security Council resolution to be debated later today and in particular what advance the drafting will make on Resolution 1203, which has already called for the prompt and complete investigation, including international supervision and participation, of all atrocities committed against civilians? Since Milosevic has ignored that demand, do the Government not consider that the Security Council will have to go further in bringing pressure to bear on him to persuade him to comply with that demand, bearing in mind the refusal to admit Mrs. Arbour this afternoon? Will the Government consider, for example, extending the remit of the Extraction Force so that it could go into a place such as Racak and occupy it temporarily so as to permit Mrs. Arbour and other investigators of

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the international tribunal to carry out the duties prescribed by the Security Council, even if the Serbians try to prevent that?

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