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Mr. George Galloway (Glasgow, Kelvin): I will visit the exhibition that the Foreign Secretary has staged of drawings by Kosovar children. I would have liked hon. Members to be able to visit a similar exhibition by Iraqi schoolchildren, except that that exhibition was banned by none other than the Foreign Secretary some months ago.

Can the Foreign Secretary not see that when in a hole, in politics as in life, people should stop digging? Whatever one's view about this war and about whether it should have been started in the first place, is it not clear that we are all now in a very deep pit? All of us--the Yugoslavs, the Kosovans, the Chinese and NATO--are in a deep hole. Is it not obvious that a settlement is within sight, based on the G8 agreement? Would it not be sensible to have a pause in the bombing--even if it is only in case any further disasters occur that make the G8 negotiations invalid or unobtainable? Would it not be wise to have a pause in the bombing and a return to the negotiating table at the United Nations, based on the G8 proposals? I feel sure that those who are following this matter closely realise that that is the basis for a settlement. If we continue bombing, we may bomb that possibility to smithereens.

Mr. Cook: I point out to my hon. Friend that none of us entered this conflict lightly; nor did we enter it without

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exploring every other possible way of resolving the crisis in Kosovo. We put two months into the Rambouillet-Paris peace talks. The talks were followed up by a special visit to Belgrade by Richard Holbrooke. The reason that we are currently engaged in a military campaign is that every other possible avenue was closed off by Milosevic.

We are trying to turn the G8 proposals into a resolution at the Security Council; that work will continue this week. However, no one would be happier than President Milosevic if we were now to suspend the military campaign. That would enable him to refuel and resupply the troops in Kosovo, and to strengthen, once again, those units in the field that have been weakened by our bombing campaign. That would not assist a solution, but would ensure that it would be longer before we could secure the only solution that will bring justice to Kosovo--the return of the refugees under international protection. Until we can secure that objective, it would be foolish of the House to suggest that we should cease the bombing campaign.

Mr. Andrew Rowe (Faversham and Mid-Kent): With our war aims set out, I well understand that it is extremely difficult to talk much about how long the refugees will be in the camps. However, is it not realistic to believe that a substantial number of refugees will be there for a very long time? Will the Foreign Secretary reassure us that the Government are working hard to ensure that the refugees' shelter against the cold of the winter and the heat of the summer is what they actually need? Can he assure the House that the camps will not become recruiting grounds for the Kosovo Liberation Army, as the refugee camps in the Congo became recruiting grounds for the Interahamwe?

Mr. Cook: I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are anxious to ensure that those camps do not become armed camps, as the camps in the Congo were. However, it would be foolish for anyone to deny that there will be many young refugees who will be interested in working for the KLA. We have to face the fact--as must Milosevic--that his behaviour and his brutality are the best recruiting sergeant for the KLA. That army has grown in strength during the period in which he has claimed to be wiping it out.

As for the future of the camps, it must be said that they are not prepared for winter. We must not necessarily prepare them for winter, but we must ensure that we provide a tolerable standard of life for the people in the camps until we can take them back to Kosovo. That is why, especially in Albania, we are encouraging refugees to go down to the coast where it will be easier to provide for them than it is in the mountainous border area. I stress to the House that, when we secure our objective of entering Kosovo and taking the refugees back, a large task of reconstruction will remain before they will have homes in which they can live through the winter. Whether inside or outside Kosovo, a major task of reconstruction lies in our hands.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich): Whatever the reasons--or lack of them--for the bombing of the Chinese embassy, is it not now clear that the Russian embassy to the Yugoslavs to seek a solution will be made doubly difficult? Are Her Majesty's Government prepared to put urgent and immediate support behind the widening of that embassy and the involvement of the

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United Nations in the war, so that action can be taken that will make it clear that we seek an equitable and honest solution?

Mr. Cook: I certainly agree with my hon. Friend on that point. The last information I had before leaving is that the Germans expect that the visit to Beijing will go ahead; that in itself is encouraging. I hope that that visit and the many other contacts that we are making with Beijing will help to ensure that we can achieve a common way forward in the diplomatic process.

Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth and Horncastle): Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that he is keeping in mind the war powers resolution of both Houses of the United States Congress, which applies equally to ground, sea and air forces, and which requires that if, after 60 days, Congress has not declared war, authorised the use of armed forces or given a time extension, the President must withdraw the American forces from the war zone? As it appears highly unlikely that the current Congress will pass resolutions in that sense, what will happen when 60 days of NATO bombing is completed on 26 May?

Mr. Cook: It is a brave diplomat who tries to tread in the relations between Congress and the White House, but we have had repeated exchanges with President Clinton over the past few days, including the period since that resolution was passed, and we detect no slackening of resolve on the part of our major ally. I believe that many of the Congressmen and Senators on the hill, including those whom I met only two weeks ago when I attended the Washington summit, understand full well what is at stake and would not want America or NATO to abandon the Kosovo refugees.

Mr. Malcolm Wicks (Croydon, North): I put it to the Foreign Secretary that, now that the going has got rough and tough in the former Yugoslavia, our democracy has to be clear on one fundamental point, which is that there is no comparison to be drawn, either militarily or ethically, between the accidental bombing by NATO, tragic though it was, and the callous, systematic and repugnant policies of the Serb regime, which involve organised rape and mass killings. Ministers do not need this advice, nevertheless, I urge them to keep their nerve and to listen to decent British public opinion, not to those on both sides of the House whose words--however well meaning or sincere--can only give comfort to the planners of mass murder in Belgrade.

Mr. Cook: My hon. Friend raises an important point, in that we have to weigh carefully what we say, for in an open society, our words are openly and freely reported and are then prone to being abused in Belgrade, where there is not the same open and free access to the media.

As for my hon. Friend's other point, I understand that public opinion will be concerned about what happened to the Chinese embassy, just as the Government and the other Governments of the alliance are concerned. However, public opinion would be even more outraged if the public were to sense that we had betrayed the Kosovo refugees and abandoned them to a life in the camps. The public would be even more outraged if they felt that there was to be no justice in respect of the atrocities and crimes committed in Kosovo. I am quite confident that public

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opinion would want us to continue until we can secure the return of the refugees and access by the International War Crimes Tribunal to Kosovo.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater): Does the right hon. Gentleman accept my clear view that, although he is entitled to seek the widest possible support in the House for the Government's current position and the action that they have taken, there are genuine public concerns about certain developments in respect of those events and that, in our parliamentary democracy, the Opposition have a duty to raise such concerns? I appreciate the pressure he is under, but does he recognise that it does not help when he tries to disparage the Opposition when they discharge part of their duty?

Mr. Cook: I entirely agree that there are concerns and that those concerns need to be expressed. However, if the right hon. Gentleman reflects, he will accept that the NATO objectives are clear and that it does not help us to show resolve and determination behind those objectives if it is suggested that there is any lack of clarity in them. They do have clarity. Although the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) referred to the lack of clarity of NATO objectives, I believe that that is a false charge which does not enable us to show the resolve and determination that are necessary for success.

Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian): I have just been elected to the new Scottish Parliament. Will my right hon. Friend take it from me that one of the clearest messages that citizens in every part of Scotland sent in that election was their rejection of a party that had criticised the military action taken against the ethnic cleansers of Kosovo? Furthermore, does my right hon. Friend agree that the Kosovan refugees who arrived in my East Lothian constituency last night will be made very welcome? Surely the most important duty of the House and of the Government must be to create the circumstances that will allow those people to return to their own country safely.

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