Strategic Defence Review

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 25th March 1998.

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Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development 1:39 pm, 25th March 1998

I am happy to inform my hon. Friend that my Department does not fund the retraining of Russian military officers. However, I shall ensure that his suggestion is passed to the appropriate Department.

Interestingly, my Department has been very unwilling to engage in military restructuring in the past. We have never gone further than demobilisation, because we obviously do not wish to become involved in the organisation of armed forces. However, we believe that that might have been a mistake in the case of Sierra Leone. Perhaps, if we had done more to make the armed forces in that country accountable to the civilian power, the last coup would have been avoided. We are examining our work in that area, but we shall not go as far as training Russian military officers.