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The Prime Minister: Yes, we do bear that in mind. We are getting the best information that we can about that. The use of human shields is a barbarous practice in itself, but we will take account of any information we have to try to minimise any damage.

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham): Does the Prime Minister agree that the policy of President Milosevic appears to be to expel the Albanian population of north Kosovo, settle in Serbs--probably from the Krajina area--and then declare a ceasefire and assert victory? Were those foreseeable developments taken into account by NATO before the present policy was embarked on? If they were, will the Prime Minister tell us how he proposes to stop them and, if President Milosevic achieves those policy objectives, how he proposes to reverse them?

The Prime Minister: The right hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks make the case for the campaign that we have. The idea of getting rid of as many ethnic Albanians as possible from northern Kosovo is not new but has been talked about in Serb circles for some time, and that is precisely what has been going on for months and months. That is why we were right to take the action, and the only chance that we have of stopping that policy is to make Milosevic pay such a high price that he is deterred from following it. That is the only alternative.

Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian): I happened to be in an aid truck on Mount Igman when air strikes were launched against the chetnik besieging forces around Sarajevo back in 1996. The only thing that

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was wrong with those air strikes was that they were at least a year too late. Does my right hon. Friend agree that those air strikes made it possible to achieve peace in Bosnia, and will he remind the House of that recent lesson from history? Action may be painful, but failure to act in the face of such atrocities would be appalling.

The Prime Minister: I agree with that entirely. It was as a result of the action by air strikes that we were able to get a settlement in that situation. I do not think that anyone who has witnessed the events of the past few days can be in any doubt about the nature of the regime that we are dealing with and the fact that we have no alternative, unless we are to let the brutality continue, to taking the action that we are taking.

Mr. David Curry (Skipton and Ripon): Does the Prime Minister reflect on how extraordinary it is for the Heads of Government to dilute an agreement reached by Agriculture Ministers which he had already described as "inadequate"? Will he be fair enough to admit that the decision is bound to make enlargement more difficult; that it makes the European Union unprepared for the next round of world trade talks; and that Britain's fundamental interests are less served by the rebate than by a fundamental reform of the CAP, which caused the problem in the first place?

The Prime Minister: It would be unwise, and possibly unfair, to enter into the last part of that question.

I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman said about the WTO talks. That remains a force coming down the track at the European Union that will give us the chance of another look at the whole area. The statement of European Council conclusions made it clear that, whatever happens with the CAP, we must still have the right proposals for the WTO negotiations in the interests of the whole of Europe. It would have been better to go further on CAP reform, although--thanks in many ways to what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food negotiated--we gained more reform than most people would have contemplated a short time ago.

Mr. Malcolm Wicks (Croydon, North): There is something truly horrendous in the fact that a 20th century stained by Nazi genocide should end with genocide, first in Bosnia, and now in Kosovo where young men are being marched away to be shot, children are being terrorised and elderly people being made homeless. May I say that, while there are, again, some voices in the House calling for appeasement of a fascist regime, the great majority of Members of the House of Commons and the great mass of decent British public opinion supports the Prime Minister's endeavour to stop the atrocities and to end the genocide? We wish my right hon. Friend good luck.

The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for his words. I am sure that he is right.

Dr. Julian Lewis (New Forest, East): Is the Prime Minister aware that many Opposition Members fully support what he and the Government are trying to do, but worry that some of the methods involved may not be efficacious?

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Is the Prime Minister aware of, and will he comment on, what seem to be well-founded intelligence reports, first, of increasing collaboration between the Iraqis and the Serbians, and, secondly, that Prime Minister Primakov was paid $800,000 by the Iraqis, which hardly recommends him as a good, honest middle man to resolve the present terrible crisis?

The Prime Minister: On the latter point, I have no comment to make, except to say that we know of nothing to substantiate it. In respect of Iraq and Serbia, there is no doubt that they have been in contact, but we know no more than that.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the support that he gave in making his first point. It is interesting that the issue has, in a sense, moved from a matter of justification to one of efficacy and whether we will succeed in our aims. I believe that we will succeed. We have set clear objectives. We have in place the mechanisms to achieve them. Our only choice is to go through with them. Having seen over the past few days that there can be no doubt about the nature of Milosevic and of what he is trying to do--it has been graphically illustrated--there is no alternative but to see our action through with total and complete resolve. That is why I support, at the moment, intensification of the NATO effort.

Dr. Rudi Vis (Finchley and Golders Green): On the middle east, the Prime Minister said that the 4 May deadline has been extended. The extension has happened for good reasons, and I welcome it, but will he say whether any new date has been set?

The Prime Minister: Our proposal on the middle east takes account of the 4 May deadline. We have not stated a date on which we believe the final status talks should be concluded, and it would not be wise of us to do so at present. It is right to show that we do not want the peace process in the middle east to be held up at all for any reason. We want it to be driven forward.

Sir Alastair Goodlad (Eddisbury): In view of the reaction of the Serbs to the bombardment that has taken place, does the Prime Minister agree that early rather than gradual intensification of the bombardment, to the maximum capacity of the alliance, is likely to achieve the best results?

The Prime Minister: I agree with that entirely. As I said a moment ago, in the light of what has happened during the past few days, intensification, not backing down, is the answer.

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley): Recognising that talks failed to end ethnic cleansing and extreme racism in Yugoslavia, must we not always remember the simple fact that Milosevic was killing his own people and that the way to end the bombing lies in his hands? If he gets his people to stop the killing in Kosovo, the bombing will stop immediately.

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is right. Milosevic has been a disaster for people in Serbia for

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many years. Anyone who has looked at his record over this long period knows that it was he, 10 years ago, who withdrew autonomy from Kosovo and began the process of using Serbian nationalism to drive people out of Kosovo. He has time and time again proved an instigator of violence and instability in this region.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood): Through the fog of war over Kosovo, the full details of what actually happened at the Berlin summit are hard to discern, other than that it seems to have been business as usual, with the candidate for President of the Commission chosen within an hour. There was no sign that the Government will accede to the wishes of 70 Members of this House, set out in early-day motion 437, that our Commissioners be confirmed by Parliament. Will the British net contribution of £2.85 billion, as certified by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury in a letter to the Financial Times on 25 March, which is the second highest, go down the scale to fourth, fifth, or sixth? Is there any hope that our contribution will be reduced?

The Prime Minister: First, in relation to the process of selecting the Commission, we are using the same process that was used by previous Governments. [Hon. Members: "That's all right then.] It is not, "That's all right then," but it is a little bit much for Conservative Members to start attacking us on this when, for 18 years, they could have changed it and chose not to, although it mightbe unfair to designate the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) as a supporter of the previous Government's policy. In respect of contributions, yes, as a result of our settlement, for the first time, although we will remain second-largest net contributors, we will be closer to France and Italy than we have been at any time in the history of the European Community. As a result of the rest of the settlement that we succeeded in achieving, not merely do we retain the abatement, we got a better deal on structural funds than any negotiated by the Government that he used to support--sort of.

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