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Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, I do not know when the programme to examine JICAP was carried out. However, does the Minister agree that this is definitely not the moment to stop the funding of JICAP which has been so successful, especially to countries like Bulgaria which have suffered so much since the Kosovo war? Does she also agree that this is exactly the kind of organisation that can be of tremendous help in the reconstruction of the Balkans after the war?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, as I said in my reply to the supplementary Question of the noble Earl, we are looking at alternative ways to support and build the enterprise culture in those countries. The evaluation showed clearly that the core objectives that had been set and their relationship with the priorities of the department were not being met through this particular kind of funding mechanism. We shall continue with management training and look at such matters as mentoring, networking and building relationships between companies and partnerships across countries. That work will continue, but this particular programme is not meeting the objectives we set.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, has the British Council been consulted on this matter? If not, might it be?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, as part of the evaluation of the programme, British Councils in the United Kingdom and overseas were consulted. A number of participants on the programme and their employer organisations were also consulted. A number of questionnaires were sent to companies within the United Kingdom which acted as hosts to those participants. So the evaluation was wide ranging. We spoke to a range of stakeholders, including the CBI and the DTI.

The Earl of Carlisle: My Lords, the Minister informed us that her department was looking at

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alternative ways to proceed. Would it not be wiser to avoid cutting this admirable scheme at the end of the month until alternative ways have been put in place? Otherwise it will send the wrong signals to the Russian Federation and the other 24 countries that we have been supporting.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, I say again that I cannot agree with the noble Earl. We have developed country strategy papers with individual countries such as Bulgaria where we set out clearly the kind of support we expect to give. We have developed a Russian president's management initiative which will involve over 500 management trainees and a budget of £5 million over three years as an example of what can be done. It is a more complex programme involving business school training. It has company attachments and a teacher capacity building element as well as coaching and mentoring. So we are finding alternative ways of ensuring that management training takes place and that the relationship between British business and those countries continues but in a different way.

The Earl of Lauderdale: My Lords, can the Minister tell us when those countries which are members of NATO will start to prepare a plan to repair the wicked damage which has been done in the bombing?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, the noble Earl may be referring to the next Question. However, there is a great deal of ongoing discussion among the international financial institutions as well as the other countries about the long-term reconstruction of the region.

Kosovo: NATO Costs

2.52 p.m.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to be in a position to estimate the total cost of the NATO operation against Serbia, how it will be shared out between the member states, and by whom the matter will be decided.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): My Lords, individual nations are expected to bear the costs associated with their own military activity in support of Kosovo-related operations apart from those relating to running costs of NATO headquarters in-theatre and common-user infrastructure projects in support of operations, both of which will be eligible for NATO common funding. The Government are not therefore in a position to estimate what the total costs of NATO operations in response to the Kosovo crisis might be. It is also likely to be some time before the level of the United Kingdom's reimbursement from NATO common funding is known.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I understand the Minister's difficulties. But, first, perhaps he will agree with me that that kind of venture cannot possibly be too frequently repeated. Secondly, this one all but came to

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grief with a flood of advice from people who had much to say but were willing to do nothing. Lastly, perhaps I may take the Minister to an issue which he might find a little more difficult. What was his reaction to the unfortunate statement attributed to President Clinton that America having taken part in the destruction side it had little to offer when it came to reconstruction? If true, that would be a shameful affair and an indication of just how difficult it will be to achieve a fair settlement.

Lord Gilbert: My Lords, I can certainly agree with the noble Lord that we do not want to see any more Kosovo crises in Europe or anywhere else on the face of this planet. It would be extremely difficult to reconstitute such an operation, and we hope that it will never come to pass. As to the views of people who did not involve themselves too greatly in the operation but had things to say about it, I think that a very great price was paid for keeping unanimity within the North Atlantic Council. The price, unfortunately, was paid by the citizens of Kosovo and also those of Serbia who suffered damage through NATO operations. It is certainly my view that had NATO been allowed to attack in the first few weeks the targets it was allowed to attack in the last few weeks the operation would have been over in a fraction of the time that it took.

I have not seen President Clinton's remarks in detail. However, I point out to your Lordships that the United States bore the overwhelming proportion of the cost of the military operations involved in Kosovo. In my view it is only right that Europe should pay more than its share of the reconstruction costs.

Lord Bruce of Donington: My Lords, in view of the fact that the costs to the United Kingdom of its significant part in the operation are likely to run into billions of pounds, will the noble Lord ask his right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it would be possible to incorporate in the next Budget Statement, by a separate appendix, some indication, including the method of resource accounting or otherwise, of estimated cost?

Lord Gilbert: My Lords, I am not sure that I recognise the figures when my friend talks about the cost of the operation to the United Kingdom being of the order of billions of pounds. We have published a figure to the end of May. Expenditure on our military contribution was of the order of £43 million, but that did not include the cost of replenishing stocks of ordnance expended during the operations.

Lord Waddington: My Lords, did the Minister see the extraordinary report that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry said in China that the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was nothing whatever to do with Britain and entirely a matter for the United States? Was that not a most extraordinary statement, not least because No. 10 was throughout the action putting it about that Mr Blair was in the lead, putting some guts into the President of the United States?

Lord Gilbert: My Lords, as I have been out of the country for the past week, I am not familiar with the

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report the noble Lord adduces in support of his remarks. It seems to me that he is involved in a most complex non sequitur. Whatever the attitude of the Prime Minister in encouraging operations, it had nothing whatever to do with events at the Chinese Embassy.

Lord Burnham: My Lords, the House will have heard with pleasure the statement of the Secretary of State that the costs of up to £43 million will be carried from central reserve. Can the Government give any view on their future policy on the sharing of future and continuing costs among participants to NATO's partnership for peace, bearing in mind that that includes Russia and many neutral countries?

Lord Gilbert: My Lords, I listened carefully to what the noble Lord said. Nothing in his question leads me to depart from the formula of the Answer I gave to the noble Lord, Lord Peyton. I shall check Hansard to see whether I have overlooked anything the noble Lord said. I should be precise. The agreement at the moment--discussions are taking place between the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury--is that the net additional costs of MoD operations will be subject to discussion and access to the reserves where the MoD is unable to accommodate those costs without prejudice to other commitments.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, reverting to the question of the involvement of the United States in the reconstruction of the area, I heard the American President state that America had played its part in the solving of the crisis and that it felt that the Europeans should bear the reconstruction costs. Is my noble friend aware that some estimates put those costs at over £100 billion? Is the United States serious in believing that it should not bear some of the costs of repairing the destruction which, in the main, it brought about?

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