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Lord Avebury: My Lords, can the Minister say anything about the information of the intelligence services of member states being made available to the United Nations? That could have made a difference in Srebrenica.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, the noble Lord knows full well that it would be wholly inappropriate for me to disclose or discuss anything about our intelligence information, or anyone else's given to us. What I shall say is that we are seeking to make the information necessary to respond appropriately focused, well targeted and known to those who make the decisions.
In addition, we have made comment about the troop contributors. In our view, the UN needs to ensure that peacekeeping contingents arrive; and that, when they arrive, they are trained, equipped and ready to take robust action. We agree with what has been said by noble Lords in that regard.
We have supported steps to ensure more effective protection of civilians in armed conflict. In the Security Council we have reiterated the importance of respect for civilians caught up in conflict and called for safe access for humanitarian agencies to civilians in need, adequately resourced peacekeeping, rapid deployment of peacekeepers and particular attention to the needs of vulnerable groups including refugees and the internally displaced. The UN force in Sierra Leone, and that foreshadowed for the DRC, are both mandated to protect civilians within their capabilities and areas of operation.
To answer the noble Lord's point, Her Majesty's Government have made it clear that the UK has given its firm support to the proposed UN conference on racism and will work with partners to ensure that it leads to an effective action-orientated outcome. Kofi Annan has made clear his personal commitment to ensuring that the UN learns the lessons of Rwanda and Srebrenica. He intends to issue a keynote report on peace operations this summer. We hope that this report will draw together many of the strands I have outlined today and make further recommendations for decisive action. We have been working closely with the high level panel preparing the report and expect the report to be a focus for discussion at the millennium summit planned for this September.
The noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, asked about the position in relation to Karadzic and Mladic. The international community has not forgotten the indictment against Karadzic. All those indicted for war crimes, including Karadzic, belong in The Hague in the custody of the ICTY. The commander of the Serb forces which assaulted Srebrenica, General
Therefore, to conclude, this Government are committed to applying the lessons of Srebrenica and Rwanda and have already proved their determination to do so. We shall continue working with the UN and other member states to create a system where human rights and international peace and stability are given the very highest priority.
Lord Hylton: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, does she feel able to say something in response to the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, who rightly pointed out that it is ridiculous to talk about peacekeeping where there is no peace agreement let alone a cease-fire, as we have seen in many cases? If the Minister can say something on those lines, can she also say how further killings might be prevented in Indonesia?
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, Her Majesty's Government have very much taken to heart the recommendations made in the report. It made clear that before peacekeepers can keep the peace there has to be a peace to keep. That lesson has been clearly learned and digested.
The difficulties faced by Indonesia are extremely testing. The lessons we have learned in Srebrenica, Rwanda and elsewhere will be used to good effect, we hope, in ensuring that lessons do not have to be learned again in Indonesia.
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