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The Prime Minister: First, I shall deal with what the right hon. Gentleman said about Kosovo. I thank him for his support. The force must have a NATO core and a unified chain of command. That is clear. There must be no question of a de facto partition of Kosovo.

On the future of the Kosovar Albanians, the Rambouillet accords are specifically mentioned in the resolution. There will have to be discussions about the right future for Kosovo, but in the meantime there will be a civil administration that is internationally guaranteed, and there will be substantial autonomy for the people of Kosovo. I cannot see them having any confidence in rule from Serbia while Milosevic remains in power. That is very clear.

In the longer term, it is essential that we begin work as soon as possible on a regeneration programme for the Balkans, because many of the front-line states--such as Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Albania--have given us support in circumstances of intense internal difficulty. Theirs has been a far more difficult path than that of countries such as ours. It is essential that they should be given their reward for that. We must show them that there is a different path for the future. In some of those front-line states, there are forces that would be happy for their politics to be dominated by ethnic conflict. We have to show that the values of democracy pay off. When we consider how much the international community has spent over the past 10 years on resolving conflict in the Balkans, it is at least worth thinking about how we can make some prudent investment in ensuring that we never have to go and sort out further conflicts. It is important to begin work on that as soon as possible.

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On Europe, the right hon. Gentleman did not accurately set out the terms of the agreements that we have entered into. He asked why the agreement on defence is different from that proposed at Amsterdam. The reason is simple: at Amsterdam we were asked to agree to something that would have clashed with NATO. As a result of getting involved, we have ensured that Europe's common defence policy is expressed in terms completely consistent with membership of NATO.

As for qualified majority voting and the veto, we have said that we take a case-by-case view. In some circumstances, qualified majority voting might have been in Britain's interests--I mentioned the example of duty free. The difference between the Conservative party as it used to be and the Conservative party as the right hon. Gentleman has made it is shown by the fact that the biggest extension of qualified majority voting was agreed by the Conservative Government as part of the passage of the Single European Act. It was right that they did that. They did it not because they were betraying the national interest, but because it was in the interest of this country to develop a single market in Europe. That is the choice for this country. Over the past few weeks, the right hon. Gentleman has defined the modern Conservative party by its hostility to Europe.

At the very beginning of his questions, the right hon. Gentleman asked me why I did not go to the European Council and argue the points that he made in his Budapest speech a few weeks ago. In his first question, he asked me for what is effectively a renegotiation of the treaty of Rome and Britain's entry into the European Union. [Interruption.] They are nodding away; let us test them. Such a renegotiation requires the consent of the other 14 members of the European Union. Can they name one that supports that proposition?

If the right hon. Gentleman had been in my position, he would have gone to the European Council seeking a renegotiation of Britain's terms of entry into the European Union, and not a single other European country would have supported him. The Conservatives would return this country to precisely that position. We would be without influence, power or any authority in Europe. That is not all, however. They want to cancel the changeover plan for the single currency so that even if we wanted to join, we would be unable to do so, and they would cancel the defence initiative that we have undertaken, even though NATO has now endorsed it. It is also true that many Conservative candidates in the European Parliament will not even join the European Conservative parties.

That is a recipe for complete disaster for this country. There are short-term tactical reasons for going for it, but it is a big, long-term strategic mistake, and the choice for this country on Thursday is leading in Europe or leaving it.

Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East): It now looks as if Kosovo will be seen as a famous victory for international order and justice, but one thing is clear from the conflict: the reputation of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the United Kingdom has been mightily enhanced by the clear leadership that he and other Ministers have given. How does my right hon. Friend propose to reach beyond the Milosevic Government and get the message clearly to the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that they have no future under Milosevic and that they must have a leader

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who is capable of mending fences with the west? How can he ensure that war crime investigators enter Kosovo speedily to ensure that the evidence of war crimes is not destroyed by the barbarians?

The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for his kind words. I have two things to say. First, it is important, perhaps particularly now, that we do not regard the conflict as having been won in any sense until the refugees go back and are safe. Some people asked why we were less than euphoric last Friday. I will allow myself to feel relieved when it actually happens. We have to watch Milosevic and his games and tricks every single inch of the way. He must be under no illusion whatever that if he starts them up again, our force remains there. He should realise that, and it should give him the incentive that he needs to make sure that this is concluded properly.

I am pleased that the draft resolution makes specific mention of the jurisdiction of the war crimes tribunal. My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that we have to reach out to democratic forces in Serbia. I know that many people in Serbia bitterly opposed the NATO campaign, even those who are also opposed to Milosevic. However, they must now understand that he has been obliged to accept terms that he could have accepted 10 weeks ago. He has devastated their country, ruined its economy and made it an outcast from the world of nations. It is a proud nation which, in many ways, has a history of which its people can be proud. If they want to regain their place in the community of nations, Milosevic's going is the best way of achieving that.

Mr. Paddy Ashdown (Yeovil): Is it not true that it is not over until it is over on the ground in Kosovo? Until that happens, we must judge President Milosevic not by his words, but by his actions. That means that we must keep up the military pressure--the only language that he understands--and the pressure from the air. Does the Prime Minister agree that that means also continuing to make those preparations that NATO has made more recently for the use of ground troops, if necessary? Despite that, the events of the last week ought to give NATO, the Government and the Prime Minister personally good cause for satisfaction as they are a vindication of the policy that they and he have followed.

Is not the last-minute wrangling and wriggling by Milosevic an attempt to evade three unshakeable principles: first, that all Serb authority must be removed from Kosovo; secondly, that there must be an international force with teeth and with NATO at its core, backed by a Security Council resolution; and thirdly, that the refugees must return in peace, live in freedom and have a future in security?

In the Balkans, the devil lies in the detail, and there are four brief questions that I wish to ask by way of clarification. First, will the Prime Minister confirm that the interim status of Kosovo will be, de facto if not de jure, as an international protectorate or trusteeship? Will he tell us who the sponsor of that will be? Will it be the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe or the European Union?

Secondly, will the Prime Minister confirm that just as Rambouillet did not exclude self-determination in the long term, nothing in the present agreement excludes it? The agreement may not include it, but it should not exclude it.

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Thirdly, does the Prime Minister agree that we must not repeat the mistake made in Bosnia of putting the civil administration in too late? It should go in as early as possible.

Lastly, will the Prime Minister refer back to his own statement, in which he mentioned the experience of the refugees? They will not go back if they see Serb troops. However, small numbers of Serb troops--lightly armed, or maybe unarmed--may be on the borders. Will he reflect on what the refugees will think if they see Serb troops on the borders? Will he consider this as a proposition: that every detachment of Serb troops anywhere in Kosovo should be matched by a detachment of NATO troops who will be there to reassure the refugees and, if necessary, afford them protection?

The Prime Minister: We cannot take anything for granted until the killing stops on the ground in Kosovo. Until the Serb forces are fully withdrawn, all options remain open. The basic principles are that Milosevic's forces go out, the international force goes in and the refugees go back--that is the simple mantra by which we must be guided.

On the right hon. Gentleman's detailed questions, the interim status of Kosovo is as an international civil administration, so it is guaranteed by the entire international community in that sense. We must establish it provisionally, and then put in place the proper democratic mechanisms. Secondly, nothing is excluded in the long term. Thirdly, I agree that the civil administration should go in and get to work as soon as possible. Fourthly, it is important to remember that certain Serb troops may go back in to do certain tasks that need to be done, but they are not going back in to be the guardians of the people in Kosovo. Those envisaged as going back in under the Ahtisaari agreement are fewer in number than those envisaged at Rambouillet.


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