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Volume 593: debated on Thursday 3 September 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they agree with Ambassador Chris Hill of the United States that an all-party executive including persons representing the Kosovo Liberation Army should be formed under the leadership of Ibrahim Rugova, to be based in Prishtine, and to conduct negotiations with the Serbian authorities on "enhanced status for Kosovo and much, much greater self-government for the people of Kosovo"; and whether the European Union Troika received the assent of President Milosovic to this proposal. [HL3224]

We remain committed to the statement by the Contact Group on 8 July that the Kosovo Albanian leadership should urgently establish a negotiating team which is fully representative of all political opinion in Kosovo. We welcomed the announcement by Dr. Rugova on 13 August of the establishment of a negotiating team, and we continue to urge those political parties who are not represented on it to align themselves with the team. President Milosovic told the EU Troika mission to the FRY in July that Belgrade remained willing to negotiate with the Kosovo Albanians. We will continue to press both sides for an early start to this negotiating process.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, pending the establishment of an all-party executive in Prishtine, the Serbian authorities in Kosovo have agreed to stop destroying civilian property and displacing non-combatants from their homes; and whether the Government will develop contingency plans with NATO allies for military action to stop further attacks on villages and towns, and promote a Security Council Resolution authorising the use of force if necessary to prevent harm and loss of life to civilians. [HL3225]

The FRY Authorities continue to insist that they are not targeting civilians and their homes in Kosovo, but that their forces are only responding to attacks by the Kosovo Liberation Army. We do not accept this explanation and have repeatedly urged the Belgrade Authorities to end the wanton destruction of civilian property in Kosovo which has resulted in the displacement of many citizens. NATO military planning is at an advanced stage. The legal base for any military action against the FRY will need to be decided upon taking full account of the circumstances at the time.