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Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for giving way. I do not want her to give away any state secrets but my contention is that there is some confusion about Milosevic's own position. Can I take it, from what the Minister said, that Her Majesty's Government are happy to negotiate with the President so long as he has met the initial demands she set out earlier?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, Her Majesty's Government have made it clear that Mr. Milosevic must meet those five conditions. We have made it clear that it is not an aim of this war to see Mr. Milosevic fall from power. I believe we would be delighted if that was the case, but that is a question for the people of his country. We have stated our conditions in relation to taking forward the position.

The noble Lord also asked about the bombing of the television station. The regime's propaganda keeps the Serbs ignorant of the brutality that goes on in Kosovo, the aims of the international community and the reasons for NATO's campaign. The media has been used to incite racial hatred and to immobilise the Serbs. Therefore, where media facilities are relevant to military operations or to the capacity of Milosevic to continue his campaign of terror, they will be considered as possible targets. I hope that makes the point clear.

I turn to the specific matters raised by the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank. The speech given by the Prime Minister last week ranged over a number of issues. It can be put into the Library of the House and I shall arrange for that to be done. The additional costs of the military action will, indeed, be falling on the contingency reserve. If there is any further information that I can let the noble Lord have on that matter, I shall do so. However, I must say, as I am sure the noble Lord would wish, that I will be able to give such information

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as is consistent with the security of our troops. We do not want anything to be read across from one area to another. Of course, my right honourable friend the Chancellor will be concerned about the costs involved. However, that is not the issue at stake here, which is the humanitarian disaster in Kosovo.

The noble Lord also raised a number of issues about European defence, as did the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde. There was a strong endorsement from all allies, European and North American, EU members and non-EU members, for our European defence initiative. We do not believe that this is taking place outside NATO at all. We believe this is about crisis management where the alliance as a whole is not engaged. That does not derogate in any way from the points I made at the beginning of my answers about the continued importance attached by Her Majesty's Government to NATO as the cornerstone for security.

The noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, was also concerned about what was termed "out of area action". The term, "NATO area" is one which Her Majesty's Government believe is misleading. NATO's Washington treaty and the strategic concept do not impose any geographical restrictions on NATO action. I hope that that has shed a little more light on that point. I believe I have covered all the issues raised by both noble Lords.

4.57 p.m.

Viscount Cranborne: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the whole House will have noted the careful preparations she has made this afternoon towards the possibility of achieving a U turn on the question of an opposed invasion of Kosovo by ground troops? Can she tell us whether the consideration of such a possibility is viewed with equanimity by every member of NATO and whether they would support such a consideration?

To what extent have the Government been considering the impact of a possible opposed invasion by NATO ground troops on our own reserves of infantry in particular? What effect will that have on the emergency tour plan of infantry battalions of our own troops should that occur, particularly in view of the worrying signs of developments in Northern Ireland?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I am sure that the noble Viscount is not trying to be unnecessarily tendentious at a time when I would hope that the House would be able to pull together. I do not believe that there is anything like what the noble Viscount described as a U turn. The fact is that military situations develop. The situation now is not as it was when we began this military encounter. With the greatest respect to the noble Viscount, I do not believe that playing along the party political lines at this time is tremendously helpful.

As the noble Viscount knows, NATO acts by consensus. As regards ground forces, it has always been the position of Her Majesty's Government, as my right honourable friend said in his Statement in another place, that we should not give Mr. Milosevic any veto over NATO's actions. Those words speak for themselves. Mr. Milosevic does not have the right to veto what

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NATO does. It was for that reason that Mr. Solana was asked to update the assessments about all contingencies. It is on that basis that all the partners in NATO agreed. As the noble Lord will know, NATO cannot operate by anything other than consensus. All 19 countries in NATO, including what have been described as the front line states, the neighbouring states of Serbia, agreed on that position in the communiques released.

Lord Merlyn-Rees: My Lords, with regard to the role of the individual members of NATO, can the Minister confirm that at the moment 86 per cent of the resources and manpower are provided by America; 7 per cent by the UK and the other 7 per cent by the rest? Those that supply the greatest amount of manpower and resources call the tune compared with those who supply a small amount. Also, was any thought given in Washington to the future role of the KLA? Is it to be brought into the fold? Is it to play a major part in the reoccupation of Kosovo? It is important to know that.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I recognise the figures quoted by my noble friend, but I do not know whether they are absolutely accurate. It is true that the United States provides a considerable amount of military equipment into the area, but I shall have to check with my colleagues in the MoD in relation to the current military deployment of personnel. Those figures have been changing. As my right honourable friend's Statement made very clear, more troops are being sent to the area, and a considerable number of British troops are there as well.

I can assure my noble friend on two points. First, there is engagement across the board in NATO, both as to equipment and as to manpower. Secondly, as I said a moment or two ago to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, there is agreement by consensus. I remind my noble friend of the point made in my right honourable friend's Statement, that every one of the NATO partners who spoke on this in Washington began by saying that he believed that the alliance had to defeat and reverse the policy of ethnic cleansing and that NATO will and must prevail. That is a strong position across the alliance.

My noble friend will know also that the KLA is still engaged in fighting. It is difficult to talk to the KLA at the moment, for reasons I am sure my noble friend will understand, and in any case, as we have discussed before in your Lordship's House, the KLA is itself a fractured organisation in terms of leadership. I take my noble friend's point that any movements towards peace must involve consultation with those who represent the Kosovars, but that will comprehend their political leaders as well, perhaps, as those who have been doing some of the fighting.

Lord Craig of Radley: My Lords, when the air campaign began, it appeared that we were bent on persuading Milosevic, by degrading his war machine, to accept the basis of the Rambouillet proposals, in particular that Kosovo should have autonomous status within Serbia. More recently there have been suggestions that Kosovo should be partitioned, or that

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it should be an independent state. What is the Government's current position on the future of Kosovo? Has there been a departure from the original position?

We now hear far more talk about taking out Milosevic's key elements of power rather than degrading his war machine. There seems to me to be some difference between talking about degrading his war machine and attacking the key elements of what keeps him in power. The precise position over Kosovo will have major implications for any ground forces that may be deployed inside Kosovo and it would be helpful to know what the Government's position is.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, on the political track, if I can put it that way, the Government's position is that the Rambouillet process should be built upon for the future of the Kosovar people. But it is not easy to predict at this juncture what the Kosovars themselves will want for their future. After all, they have been through a truly scalding and horrific experience over the past few weeks. Perhaps what was acceptable to them then may not be acceptable when the military action is completed.

The noble and gallant Lord says that he is not clear as between on the one hand the Government's desire to degrade the military capacity of Mr. Milosevic and, on the other, a desire to undermine the key elements in his power. While I see that philosophically those issues can be separated, some of the key elements in keeping Milosevic in power will be part and parcel of keeping his military machine alive. It was for that reason I gave the specific answer I did to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, in relation to the Government's view of the television station as a proper military target. It is the propaganda machine that helps to keep the military machine moving. Therefore, though philosophically what the noble and gallant Lord says may be true, in practical terms the two issues coincide considerably.

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