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

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Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords 4:13 pm, 14th November 2001

My Lords, again I agree with the thrust of my noble friend's remarks. It may be helpful if I revert to the Statement. It states:

"The immediate next step is for the UN to establish a presence in Kabul".

Mr Vendrell—he is, after all, high level; he is the Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan—and Mr Sackett, the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Afghanistan, will go to Kabul on Friday. If there is reproach against the United Nations for not getting on with things, I respectfully suggest that it is not properly and appropriately levelled.

Plainly matters are moving very quickly. It is impossible at this stage, and it would be imprudent, to come to absolute conclusions about what our troops will be doing in what circumstances because any prudent commander will weigh up changing circumstances. There is no doubt at all that the United Nations will play a critical role. I repeat one sentence from the Statement:

"To support this process under Mr Brahimi the UN Security Council will be adopting a resolution to underpin the principles on which Mr Brahimi is working".

I think that that answers my noble friend's specific question.