Balkans

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 21st June 2004.

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Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and I have regular discussions with our Balkan counterparts. Those discussions have focused on the transition from a NATO-led force, SFOR, to an EU-led force, EUFOR, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the Balkan states' aspirations to join NATO or partnership for peace. I am due to visit the region shortly.

Photo of Eric Joyce Eric Joyce PPS (Mr Mike O'Brien, Minister of State), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, PPS (Mr Mike O'Brien, Minister of State), Department of Trade and Industry

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Will he say how the decision to transfer from a NATO-led mission to an EU-led mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was made?

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

The range of demands must match the particular Balkan country involved. Bosnia and Herzegovina has made significant progress on defence reform, including the creation of a Ministry of Defence and the appointment of a Defence Minister, but full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, particularly with regard to Karadzic, is a prerequisite for partnership for peace membership. We urge Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet that and all other international obligations, and to build close and friendly ties with its neighbours. We place a range of demands on all countries within the region, some of which are already members of the action plan and are hopefully moving towards full NATO membership, and others of which still have some way to go.

Photo of John Randall John Randall Opposition Whip (Commons)

Will the Government support Macedonia's application at the forthcoming Istanbul talks?