Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240-259)|
30 NOVEMBER 2004
MP AND MS
Q240 Andrew Mackinlay: It is perverse,
is it not? The state level may have a policy, as the Croatian
Government has got, of saying: "We wish to comply with ICTY".
The rest of the country, that is at the federation levelfor
what it is worthand all the cantons say: "Hear, hear",
but they cannot deliver compliance by Srpska. Therefore, are you
suggesting that forever and a day the rest should be held back?
Mr MacShane: This is the argument.
You mentioned Croatia and those who say, "Just because we
cannot establish authority over all state structures, the EU should
not worry about this". I reject that. I think if, as Carla
Del Ponte said, government-linked networks are supporting an ICTY
indicted gentleman, then the government as a whole has to ensure
its authority runs, not just from prime ministers and foreign
ministers talking to ministers in other European capitals, but
right down to the lowest level of state authority.
Q241 Andrew Mackinlay: As in Cyprus.
Could you not have some situation where you recognise or encourage
the acquis to be applied where it can? I am not talking about
full membership of the European Union, but at least there should
be some advance for geographical, ethnic and multi-ethnic areas
that wish to collaborate for advancement in terms of Europe.
Mr MacShane: We are focusing on
creating state structures and Lord Ashdown has made a big contribution
to that. Clearly, within that there is leeway on whether it is
economic relations, trade, travel or financial support in which
there is more carrot than there is stick. Also, we think that
the Federation could do more to create a climate within which
the Republika Srpska understands its duties to do more to help
meet ICTY obligations. I do not want to give any indication that
there is any thought by the British Government of a kind of repartition
of Bosnia-Herzegovina by separating the country into those that
are EU compliant and those that are not. It is a state as a whole
and the state must also accept its responsibilities.
Q242 Andrew Mackinlay: Generally, it
is unclear what carrots there can be for the Republika Srpska
to collaborate because purely in terms of administration it is
a successful political unit in terms of delivering domestic services,
health, housing, education, et cetera. I think that is not disputed,
but there is no incentive for them to collaborate with ICTY and
to recognise its responsibility to the wider state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Mr MacShane: I do not agree with
you, and I do not think many people living in the Republika Srpska
feel that in economic terms, social advance, travel, trade and
inward investment, they are living in a particularly satisfactory
part of Europe. The incentive is the same as with their Serb neighbours
in Serbia or with their fellow BiH citizens, which is Europe's
door just waiting to be opened, as is NATO's, on the condition
that they accept the obligations that we all do of fully accepting
international law. That is why Lord Ashdown has been so active
in removing extremists and trying to ensure that the old militaristic
structures, which certainly deliver a certain minimum level of
services, are civilianised and democratised. It is uphill work.
Again, I have to say on the record, I do not want to give any
encouragement to people, whether in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar
or any of the main cities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that there is
even a scintilla of possibility of thought in the British Government's
mind or any Government's mindto my knowledgeof any
kind of differentiation in terms of access to the EU between the
different elements of the state for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Chairman: I would like to move on. I
know Ms Stuart and Sir John have questions again on Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Q243 Ms Stuart: Again, for the record.
Are there any practical steps the United Kingdom could take to
help Bosnia-Herzegovina in their desire to join NATO and the EU
in terms of providing a carrot to comply with them and what are
practical vetoes you think the Committee should take into account
for our report? I am very happy to take that in writing to give
us more time to move on to Macedonia.
Mr MacShane: We will provide you
with a note on that.
Q244 Sir John Stanley: Minister, there
is a great deal of comment about the inadequacy and ineffectual
nature of international interventions. Indeed, in certain places
some argue they have been positively damaging and resulted in
worse states than were found. Would you agree that as far as Bosnia-Herzegovina
is concerned the nine years' worth of international interventions,
since the civil war has finally been brought to a halt, has been
a truly remarkable achievement in a country where, if you translated
the deaths into British terms, it would be the equivalent of six
to seven million people in this country being massacred in a civil
war? Here we are nine years on in which the three communities
are living peacefully together and working co-operatively in a
wholly recognisable democratic state. Given that achievement,
do you agree or not that it would be very dangerous and possibly
at risk of throwing everything away if the international community
and possibly the British in particular, having played such a very
significant role in Bosnia-Herzegovina, left too prematurely?
Mr MacShane: Very much so. There
is a desire, as I said, to "de-UNMIKise" Kosovo and
to "de-EUFORise" Bosnia. Certainly, Paddy Ashdown said
he would like to be the last High Representative and Special Representative,
but I think those ambitions stated the commitment to stay the
course with our partners and it is very clear and very firm.
Q245 Chairman: Minister, we visited Macedonia
and we were there shortly after the referendum and shortly after
the United States had assisted in the vote in the referendum by
deciding to call Macedonia "Macedonia". When we were
there it was put to us that there is no precedent of one state
not being allowed to call itself what it wants. What is the best
case you can make to the Committee for continuing to call Macedonia
"the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"?
Mr MacShane: I do not and I do
not think anybody does. We all call it Macedonia, but as you know,
the Greek Government has a very strong view that does not accept
this name. I suspect it is a question you would have to put to
representatives of the Greek Government.
Q246 Chairman: With respect, I put the
question to you. Slovenia, for example, within the EU, calls it
Macedonia. Greece has impaled itself and has set itself for over
10 years on this. What is the best case you can say for not proceeding
to call Macedonia "Macedonia"?
Mr MacShane: Exactly the same
problemnot problemthat we have in saying that in
international treaty law in the EU and in NATO each country has
a de facto veto. In those international fora Greece can
say: "The only terms under which we will accept the participation
or presence of Macedonia is if it is under the title of FYROM".
At the meeting I was at last Monday in Brussels, the Macedonian
Foreign Minister was there and I had a very useful discussion
with her. I am sure in discussing Macedonia with any one of my
colleagues I refer to Macedonia. When she sat down with a little
label in front of her it said FYROM. That would be true for the
United States when they sit down in NATO, it will be under FYROM,
and when the United States sits down at the United Nations, it
will be under FYROM. On a recent visit to Skopje I was very pleased
to get the reports. There were discussions under the UN auspices
between Athens, Skopje and New York on trying to find a way out
of this problem, but there are profound passions in Greece and
I would not underestimate them. I think it is too easy to sit
here in London, click your fingers and say: "This position
should be accepted" or "That position should be accepted".
As far as I am concerned, and certainly, when I write a letter,
I talk about Macedonia or the Republic of Macedonia, but at international
gatherings where the Greek Government is represented, and was
there before Macedonia arrived, Macedonia sits with its partners
Q247 Andrew Mackinlay: During the British
European Presidency, in a year's time, when you are the host and
you are in the driving seat, how will you flag it up?
Mr MacShane: I would treat the
rules on that the same as in NATO and the UN. Certainly, I am
not going to go unilaterally against the United Nations, NATO
or the rest of my Union partners.
Q248 Chairman: Even if the UK was not
to proceed unilaterally, what argument do you see against, for
example, the EU Three braving these passions, which you have mentioned,
by going ahead and deciding to call Macedonia "Macedonia"?
Mr MacShane: As I say, Chairman,
every time I read a paper, have a conversation or hear an interview
in Germany, France or any other European country, Macedonia is
called "Macedonia". Not speaking Greek, I am not sure
what the usage is there. Can we express a hope, as I do, that
very serious and mature diplomats in Athens and Skopje can find
a solution to this problem. We are not going to go against a powerful
EU partner like Greece. I am sorry, Britain is not unilaterally
going to say that if this is that important to Greece, even if
we do not agree with it, we know better and the Greeks have got
no rights in this regard. It is a passionate problem in Greece
and we have to have some respect for our Greek colleagues, partners
and friends as well.
Q249 Chairman: Of course, Greece is a
friend, but they have impaled themselves on this absurdity. Why
can we not, together with other key members, France and Germany,
call it an absurdity?
Mr MacShane: Chairman, perhaps
unimpaling people is something of a Transylvanain pastime. I am
not good at it. As I say, very serious diplomats, and this is
true of the PASOKSocialist
Government, it is true now of the new democracy, the Conservative
Government under Mr Karamanolis and the authorities of Skopje,
are talking in a UN framework. I can think of nothing more likely
to derail that process than any unilateral statement from the
United Kingdom beyond what I have said. Our Americans friends,
when they sit down with Macedonia in the context of the UN, NATO
or if it is a joint meeting with the EU, will find that the name
badge for the country is that which our Greek partners insist
on for the time being
Chairman: For the time being, as long
as there is a term.
Q250 Ms Stuart: When the Chairman moved
on to Macedonia, he made reference to the dramatic American intervention
to swing the referendum. Of course there are some of us who like
the alternative version, it was your visit and a demonstration
of the watch that really swung the Macedonian vote. We talk about
EU membership and my colleague, Mr Mackinlay, made reference to
this. We will hold the EU Presidency at a time when very crucial
negotiations for Macedonia's EU membership will come in, and similarly,
its aspiration to join NATO. Again, are there any practical steps
which the United Kingdom is taking to facilitate the speedy process
of both EU and NATO membership?
Mr MacShane: The British Government
is financially supporting the European Integration Office of the
Macedonian Government. Also, we are providing a series of public
administration reform aides in the area of the general secretariat
and the public administration reform unit in the civil servants'
agency. Via NATO, we have a senior adviser in place to advise
a defence reform of future NATO integration. Obviously, Macedonia's
very positive ambition to aim for the EU is something that Britain
supports and welcomes. I would say that the referendum result
there was a very positive and mature signal from the citizens
of Macedonia and that that is where there own aspirations are,
but of course, full compliance with the Copenhagen criteria is
necessary for Macedonia, as for any other country. We want to
see the full implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.
That referendum process, as we know, was designed to derail it,
but it is an example of how Ohrid has not yet fully embedded itself
in the hearts and minds of all of Macedonia's political class.
We want to see more progress on the SAA, the Stabilisation Association
Agreement, and in particular on opening up the economy, judicial
reform, corruption and organised crime and these remain serious
areas. I am cautiously optimistic about Macedonia because I think
the two communities there, Macedonia and Albaniadespite
the tensions that we know abouthave repeatedly walked back
from the brink and, also, are witness to the international community's
involvement there since the first President Bush mandated troops
under the UN back in 1990, I think. We travel and deal regularly
with leaders and have very positive relationships with them. They
have suffered terrible blows with the loss of their president
in that ghastly plane crash in Mostar in the winter of this year.
I attended the funeral and I was very struck at the maturity of
all the communities there. In a funny way, of all the countries
in the regions it does not have an ICTY problem, thank goodness.
I hope, with the help of the very able diplomatic brilliance of
Greece and good will all round, perhaps the main problem could
be solved and they can move forward in the other areas with a
lot of encouragement and help from, certainly, the Government
in London and the EU to fulfil their ambitions before too long.
Q251 Ms Stuart: As they do not have the
war crime problem, they may be well ahead. If I could just leave
you with a thought, as we are leaving this, one of the thoughts
for solving the problem of the name was that a solution on the
spelling could be found.
Mr MacShane: I have heard solutions
about the pronunciation. I am trying to work out whether I want
to see the new film with Alexander the Great. I would not add
any other qualification to him, whether there is guidance for
us all out of Hollywood!
Q252 Sir John Stanley: Minister, I must
just return to this issue of the name because this is of such
key importance to these two countries, Macedonia and Greece. As
of today, we now have three members of the Security Council, the
US, Russia and China, all of whom, we understand, have recognised
Macedonia as the correct constitutional name for that country.
Surely it is the case that if the British Government accepts that
a sovereign country is entitled to determine its own name, it
must be the case that the British Government should be becoming
the forth member of the Security Council to recognise Macedonia
by its constitutional name. I have not heard an answer from you
which gives any degree of cogent reason as to why the British
Government should not make that move other than the unseen, unheard,
unspoken one, which is that we must do nothing that could take
us out of line with our fellow EU member countries. Is that what
is determining British policy on this point?
Mr MacShane: Not at all, Chairman.
We are at one with Russia, China and the United States. I must
confess to the Committee, I did not know that Russia and China
had decided this policy and, certainly, I will check up on that
with Greek and other colleagues. At the UN they will sit down
with Macedonia and they will have a label in front of them called
FYROM, ditto, NATO. We call it Macedonia in correspondence and
conversation, but, yes, in the EU it is one of the rules, it may
be uncomfortable for some and very important for others, that
each nation state member of the EU has got certain rights, one
of which is to express a veto on this particular nomenclature.
It is not really for me, and certainly it is not helpful for me,
to be disobliging about Greek colleagues. As I say, I hope the
solution can be found, whether it is through spelling or pronunciation.
There is another row bubbling up on whether the euro can be spelt
with a "v" in some Slavonic countries, which Mr Trichet
of the European Central Bank is very exercised with. Perhaps that
is evidence from the Treasury Minister that you need on that problem.
I have to say Macedonia by any other name would smell as sweet.
What is in a name? It is of great importance for two countries
that we have good relations with. You want me to be a Solomon
and come down just on one side? As I said, I would be very happy
with that position. It is the same position de facto despite
announcements that have been made by the United States. We call
it Macedonia in correspondence and in discussions. If I have an
interview on television or if I am in Macedonia or Greece I refer
to Macedonia or the Republic of Macedonia, but in international
institutions the name FYROM or the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia is still used by Russia, the United States and any other
country in the international community.
Q253 Sir John Stanley: Can I turn to
the other issue which is a feature of national sovereignty, which
is that a state should have clearly defined borders. Is the British
Government able to help with what appears from the outside to
be a pretty ludicrous dispute which we understand relates to just
approximately 200 hectares of uncertainty of border between Macedonia
and Kosovo? Can the British Government make a contribution to
resolving that issue and getting that out of the way?
Mr MacShane: A very good point.
It is about 2,500 hectares with hardly anybody living on it. When
I have been down there I have asked to see the detailed maps.
The dispute is not entirely clear to me, but I think, as a nation
that remembers some of these issues in curves and lines and the
border between what then became Pakistan and India et cetera,
perhaps it is not something Britain should pile on too much. What
we have got is a working commission that UNMIK set up between
representatives from Macedonia, Pristina and Belgrade. Of course,
the original delineation was between Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia
without any involvement by the Kosovans. There are one or two
Kosovan locals who say that the border is not quite drawn right.
Q254 Andrew Mackinlay: You used the word
Belgrade, is Belgrade the Federal Republic of Serbia-Montenegro
or just Serbia?
Mr MacShane: The delineational
border was between Serbia and Montenegro on one sideI use
Belgrade de facto as a capital of the twoand Macedonia,
the authorities from Skopje. Since then Kosovan authorities have
objected and we have a problem, but I would be very reluctant
to say there is any problem in that part of world, which is minor
and technical because goodness knows what could happen in the
Q255 Andrew Mackinlay: I think the answer
is yes. Your colleague has said yes.
Ms Pierce: I think they
are state union officials, but we will check.
Q256 Andrew Mackinlay: You see the point
of me asking because it goes to the heart of my earlier question
to the Minister?
Ms Pierce: It was a FRY delineation,
so it was definitely a countrywide one.
Q257 Sir John Stanley: Just on the figure,
maybe this went wrong in the translation or in my notes, but,
very firmly, I have got down from the Macedonian Foreign Minister
a figure of merely 200 hectares, but, Minister, we will take your
figure as being correct. If it is not correct would you let us
know, otherwise, we are totally off course?
Mr MacShane: Of course. I will
have to write to you on this
Q258 Andrew Mackinlay: The only other
thing I want to ask you is what we are doing to help judicial
reform in Macedonia? I imagine it is probably a lack of agencies,
presumably it is DFID or the Department for Constitutional Affairs,
is it not? They were crying out for assistance and seemingly there
was no one available to help?
Mr MacShane: As I said earlier,
generally we have help from the Government, but certainly paid
for out of the DFID budget on reform in public administration.
Also, we are helping the Macedonia Government to decide a new
counter-insurgency public order unit because, as you can imagine,
that is quite a pressing law and order issue down there. We are
supporting judicial reform because that is important in Macedonia
and we are doing it through the OSCE. We have helped to organise
seminars on alternative dispute resolution and, of course, DFID
with the Foreign Office, with the Ministry of Defence, are all
working collectively with other international donors like US Aid
to help Macedonia.
Q259 Andrew Mackinlay: In fairness to
the Minister, perhaps we could have a note from him on that. On
the other side of the coin, similarly, privatisation had been
somewhat botched. It would appear that there had been, not necessarily
with any malevolence, privatisations to existing workers, laudable
in intent, as it were, but which did not attract foreign investment.
Again, I wonder if you could give us a note as to a position statement
on privatisation and how the United Kingdom-EU might be able to
improve on that? The evidence we had was that this had been a
missed opportunity to the extent that the privatisation had gone
ahead, and I am making the assumption it was not exhausted, but
it was not attracting foreign investment, whether or not the international
community and the UK were on top of this in doing what they could
to facilitate a more beneficial programme of privatisation. I
am happy for that to be left to a written note.
Mr MacShane: I am happy to send
the Committee a detailed note on the economics of privatisation
and what the UK involvement is thereWhat
I would say is that of course Macedonia needs to send out enduring
signals of stability. The one thing the international investment
community is frightened of is being frightened and when the news
out of Macedonia is of conflict or referendums then they run away.
I should correct myself, Chairman, if you will let me put it on
the record. I said that Macedonia was not involved with ICTY.
Of course that is true in terms of the big ICTY area of operation
on the wars of the 1990s, but there are five cases ICTY has shown
an interest in relating to the crisis of 2001. You remember the
summer of 2001 with the killings of ethnic Albanians in one or
two countries, the kidnap and torture of civilian road workers
and, of course, the tragic death of a British solider there. ICTY
has still got an interest in those cases, but there are no indictments
as yet and I do not think you could put Macedonia in the same
category as the other countries
Ms Pierce: May I add on privatisation
and investment? Another problem, as well as stability, is that
none of the Balkan countries have the sort of laws that enable
companies to protect their own assets and that is something we
encourage them to pass quickly.
Andrew Mackinlay: Absolutely. I am grateful
to Ms Pierce for raising that. If you felt able to amplify on
that and not just on Macedonia, that would be something you could
also put in writing
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