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Clare Short: I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I am certain that the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Wells), the Chair of the Select Committee on International Development, is much more representative of the view of decent Tories. Yes, the Conservative party cut the aid budget. As a matter of historical record, it stood by when ethnic cleansing went on in Bosnia.

My hon. Friend is right to say that there is a problem on the border of Macedonia. There is a slow trickle of people getting across the border and a big tail of people wishing to cross. They are in a worrying situation. That is caused not by a shortage of resources, but by bureaucratic procedures on the border.

We are worried about the situation. We have been in touch with our ambassador, and he has been in touch with the Macedonian Government. We are exerting all the pressure that we can. There is divided opinion in Macedonia; that is part of the problem. That is why I am keen, if we can, to get the forces to help with the humanitarian situation, so that the public in Macedonia do not resent the refugees.

Mr. Alan Clark (Kensington and Chelsea): The right hon. Lady mentioned that she is making available £500,000 worth of emergency food supplies. Does she realise that that is slightly less than the cost of one cruise missile, and that more than 50 cruise missiles are being dumped on Yugoslavia every night? I recognise her commitment to the humanitarian issue, as does the whole House, and her practical good sense, but she must accept that £500 million of ordnance being dumped on Yugoslavia every 24 hours is killing people. That is nothing to do with Milosevic--he is not killing them--and it is not getting anywhere near him either. Yugoslav civilians are being killed by the NATO air offensive.

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If the right hon. Lady can accept that equation, she will surely see that the sooner the bombing is halted and diplomatic initiatives take place again, the more resources, on an enormous scale, will be immediately released for the purposes that she knows how to apply so well.

Clare Short: I am surprised by the right hon. Gentleman; I thought that he was a better historian than that. Does he not remember appeasement? Milosevic was appeased in Bosnia, and look what happened. He is doing it again. There are times, however difficult, when we have to stand against such fascist evil. Fascism is reappearing in Europe only 50-odd years after the end of the terrible events in Germany.

The right hon. Gentleman misheard me. The £500,000 that has been made available to the World Food Programme is for logistics. It has enough food. The money is not for food; that is being provided anyway. The money has been provided so that we can move the food to the people.

NATO is not killing civilians. The very carefulness of our operations is to ensure that there is minimum damage to civilians. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman may laugh, but it is the truth. He should pause and have more humility. People who are walking up mountains and who fear that their menfolk are being executed are saying, "Please carry on with the NATO action." Should he not listen to them?

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough): Will my right hon. Friend place a high priority on ensuring that UNHCR staff are available to document the refugees in the places where those refugees are going? Milosevic is not merely stealing their identity documents, but using the period to destroy their existence in Kosovo, blowing up register offices, burning land documents and so on. That is clearly an attempt to finish off the ethnic cleansing that he has started.

It is our duty to provide such documentation. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to assure me that some of the work of her Department will enable that to be implemented, to ensure that Kosovars can reclaim their identity and their land.

Clare Short: I assure my hon. Friend that the whole purpose of the operation--and we will go on until we finish--is to drive back the military aggression and to help people to go home. We will do it. Records are being kept, and much more detailed records of the war crimes are also being taken. I am sure that there will be quite a lot of trials after the matter is settled.

Sir Alastair Goodlad (Eddisbury): The right hon. Lady will be aware that all those involved in seeking to mitigate this appalling tragedy, whether they be servants of her Department or people working for NGOs, will have the wholehearted support of the House. Can she reassure the House that she is confident that proper measures will be taken for their physical protection in the countries around Kosovo?

Clare Short: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, and I am sure that all the people who are working so hard would be equally grateful. Our concern lies in northern Albania, where people are in inappropriate circumstances

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and where there is fighting close to the border from which they may be in danger. An operation is taking place, and the Italians have provided buses to move people to safer places. We will do all in our power to protect people engaged in humanitarian action. Across the world, more and more such people have been targeted and killed. As yet, we do not see that danger arising, but we are trying to make better arrangements for northern Albania.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): How can the Secretary of State be so innocent as to come to the Dispatch Boxof the House of Commons and use the word "unimaginable"? The moment American and British leaders said that ground troops would not be used and that there would be air attacks, was it not all too obvious--predictable and predicted, foreseeable and foreseen--that the Serbs would wreak the most terrible retaliatory vengeance on those whom we had left vulnerable? What does "intensification" do about ruthless machine gunners and pistol users who are crazed by what has happened to their own families 400 or 500 miles to the north?

Leaving aside the dangers of humiliating the Russians and their best intentions, why did the Government reject--apparently out of hand, although I stand to be corrected if that is not so--the proposals of the one man, the Russian Prime Minister, who could have done something? Finally, what exactly did the Prime Minister mean at Question Time when he used the phrase "to finish the job"? Which job? What does it mean?

Clare Short: My hon. Friend makes me very sad. Anyone who is critical of the military action should have more humility and should listen to the voices of those who are suffering. The refugees, the people in Kosovo and the Albanian Government strongly support the NATO action and are asking that we go on to finish the job. Finishing that job means reversing Serbian aggression, reaching a political settlement, putting in ground forces to make it safe--[Interruption.] That is a recognised part of the policy and it was declared long ago. It means returning people to their homes and helping people to rebuild. That is what is right. My hon. Friend is wrong.

Mrs. Margaret Ewing (Moray): Not a single Member would question the personal or political will of the Secretary of State, and I congratulate her on her actions. I do not know whether she made a slip of the tongue in responding to the previous question. I suspect she meant to refer to peacekeeping forces, not ground forces. Perhaps she would clarify that point.

Countries that surround Kosovo face difficulties in dealing with this huge problem. People are being stripped of every aspect of their identity, including even car number plates. There is now a citizenless class in the area. Can the United Nations, the European Union and NATO come together to make sure that people will have homes to return to? Will part of our policy be to rebuild homes?

Clare Short: Throughout the tragedies of Bosnia,I recall, I sat beside the hon. Lady, and we shared the view that there should have been earlier intervention to stop Milosevic. It would have been easier then, and there were mistakes in our policy. At least now we are doing what is right.

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I made no slip in mentioning land forces. It was made clear in the Rambouillet talks that if autonomy was agreed, troops were already out there who could move in to keep people safe and to enforce the agreement. That was always part of the proposal. My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) asked what finishing the job meant, so I was briefly reminding him of what had been announced.

There are no citizenless people. They are citizens of Kosovo. They have homes; they know where they come from. We hope that the action will be over soon and that they can go home. Burning their papers does not destroy their identity. They are citizens, and their legal rights will be respected. They will go home, and the international community will make sure they have help in rebuilding their homes.

Mr. David Lock (Wyre Forest): May I welcome my right hon. Friend's statement, and direct her mind particularly to the problems facing the children of Kosovo? I do so without making any party political points--which have no bearing on this debate, and should not have been made in the first place. Does she agree that--according to information that the Under-Secretary of State for International Development and I were given at a recent meeting--19 of 20 children who die in war zones die not from guns or bullets, but because the health system that is so essential to keeping them alive disintegrates because of the destruction of war?

Will my right hon. Friend particularly commend the British paediatricians who, over the years, have been prepared to travel to war zones--to rebuild, to retrain and to treat children who need medical treatment? Will she ensure that her Department considers any requests that it has received from organisations supporting paediatricians, to enable the great humanitarian work by highly qualified British doctors to continue--so that they may treat some of the 19 of 20 children who might otherwise die, not from bullets, but from the displacement and destruction of war?

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