Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:13 pm on 14th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord Richard Lord Richard Labour 4:13 pm, 14th November 2001

My Lords, perhaps I may ask my noble and learned friend about the state of play with the United Nations. Clearly there will have to be a Security Council resolution setting out the views of the Secretary-General on how matters should now proceed. Can my noble and learned friend tell us when that meeting is likely to take place? In the press this morning I read that one or two people are already saying that the United Nations is being slow about assuming responsibilities in this matter. There has to be Security Council cover for it. It is important that that cover should be obtained quickly.

It seems to me to be fairly obvious that there has to be some kind of UN direct presence—peacekeeping forces or whatever label one likes to put on it. There will have to be a fair number of soldiers in blue berets in Afghanistan. Do the Government envisage our possible contribution to a peacekeeping force being present in Afghanistan until the UN takes over? It is important that we should get the timing right. I shall be grateful for anything my noble and learned friend can say.