Results 161–180 of 2497 for speaker:Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

Oral Answers to Questions — Kosovo (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: Within the defence budget the costs of operations lie where they fall. Additional costs arising as a direct consequence of the United Kingdom's military contribution to the international response to the Kosovo crisis are, however, being separately identified and will form the basis of a claim on the Government's contingency reserve. It has been agreed that the reserve will cover the net...

Oral Answers to Questions — Kosovo (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: The battalions of the Treasury are on the side of our forces in Kosovo, though they, like everybody else, remain professional and vigilant.

Oral Answers to Questions — Kosovo (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There is no doubt at all that the cost of doing nothing, or of standing back and wringing our hands at the beginning of the campaign, would have been immeasurably greater. There will be costs and the international community will have to pay substantially for the restructuring and the rehabilitation of Kosovo, and for helping the countries of south-eastern...

Oral Answers to Questions — Kosovo (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's congratulations, because I remember the letter he wrote to The Times on 13 May, but, as he is gracious enough to congratulate me on what the forces have done, I will not be so mean-minded as to remind him of what he wrote. I am conscious of the old adage, "Always forgive your enemies, never forget their names." I can tell him that, of course,...

Oral Answers to Questions — Kosovo (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: That question goes slightly beyond my remit. My hon. Friend should perhaps float the idea of taxing currency speculation with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Oral Answers to Questions — Kosovo (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: The right hon. and learned Gentleman is probably the only Liberal Member of Parliament who has declared himself out of the race for leader, so I will not take any lessons from him on intra-party fratricide. He raises an interesting point about the amount of heavy armour that the Serbs clearly had in Kosovo during the past year. We may have underestimated the sheer number of tanks and...

Oral Answers to Questions — Kosovo (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new position, which I am sure he will find extremely rewarding. I know that, on his first occasion at the Opposition Dispatch Box this afternoon, he would have wanted to congratulate British troops on their achievements so far. Yesterday, the last Serb troops looked at Kosovo through their rear-view mirrors. Yesterday, the air campaign was called off and...

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: The recent Cologne Council meeting set out the way forward for the European Union's common foreign and security policy, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy. That built on agreement at the NATO Washington summit, which itself had originally stemmed from the Anglo-French St. Malo declaration in December last year. Our intention is to strengthen the European capability...

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: My hon. Friend is right in pointing to the inconsistency of the Conservative party. It was, after all, my predecessor, Michael Portillo, who signed up to the European security and defence identity at the Berlin summit. It is strange that the Conservative party should be so emphatically opposed to an initiative that is designed to strengthen NATO's capability to act in situations where NATO...

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: I felt that this was a day for generosity, which is why I thought that reminding the Opposition of Michael Portillo would be sufficient. It would, I thought, be going too far to remind them of the Maastricht treaty, in which the idea of a common defence policy had its germination. The fact is that no one else shares the rather ludicrous view that is being taken of anything European,...

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: I thank my hon. Friend for pointing out some home truths. We have reshaped our forces in this country, and it must be said that a good many members of all parties in the House agreed with the analysis. We simply wish our European colleagues to spend what they spend wisely. It is a fact that Europe spends nearly two thirds of the total budget of the United States on defence, but achieves only...

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: Mr. Prodi speaks for himself in talking about a European army. I have heard no other European leaders speak of a single European army. There will be no relinquishing of national control or deployment of our forces. That is the view not only of this Government—who hold it emphatically—but of the rest of the European Union countries.

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: If I remember rightly, Mr. Prodi was the unanimous choice of all the European Union leaders, just as Mr. Jacques Santer was the choice of the last Administration and unanimously adopted by others. The ability to rewrite history is now becoming an art form in the Conservative party, but they cannot fool all the people all the time. There is no intention of making defence policy anything other...

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: I welcome also the hon. Gentleman to the Opposition Front Bench, and I wish him well. I also offer him one piece of advice: before asking that type of question, he would be well-advised to read the conclusions of the Washington summit. Believe it or not, that summit was held in the capital of the United States of America and was subscribed to by the Government of the United States of America....

Oral Answers to Questions — European Defence Co-operation Initiative (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: The hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames) is usually in so much trouble that I am loth to make matters worse for him by praising him, but, on that point, he has reality on his side. The European defence initiative—which has been endorsed by the Washington summit and by the Cologne European Union summit—is designed to supplement, not to duplicate NATO assets, to strengthen NATO, and to...

Oral Answers to Questions — Balkans (British Forces) (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: ): The United Kingdom is committed to supporting NATO operations in the Balkans. At the peak, we shall be deploying up to 13,000 ground troops as part of KFOR, with up to 7,000 more remaining ready in the UK for deployment in the region if needed. Additionally, 4,500 personnel are serving with SFOR in Bosnia. As of today, 900 Royal Navy personnel and 1,800 Royal Air Force personnel are also...

Oral Answers to Questions — Balkans (British Forces) (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: All the understandings and agreements have been driving precisely at achieving the objective, which the hon. Gentleman shares, of one unified force for one Kosovo: we are not interested in the creation of a new Berlin wall in any other part of the European continent. The Russians' acceptance of one unified command inside Kosovo, under General Mike Jackson of KFOR, underlines that clear line...

Oral Answers to Questions — Balkans (British Forces) (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: My hon. Friend is right to point out that we have a considerable commitment to SFOR in Bosnia, and that the record there is extremely good. The circumstances may well lead to some force reconfiguration. We will be looking to reduce our numbers in Bosnia, and I have made that clear on a number of occasions to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. The commitments that we have taken on in...

Oral Answers to Questions — Balkans (British Forces) (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: I always listen with great care to the right hon. Gentleman, who held the position that I hold now. He knows the weighty responsibilities that are involved, especially in deploying troops. He was in a similar position to me now when he deployed some 52,000 troops to the Gulf during the conflict in that area. At that time, he—like me now—could not have stood back from our obligation to do...

Oral Answers to Questions — Balkans (British Forces) (21 Jun 1999)

Mr George Robertson: We are looking carefully and seriously at the problems affecting families during long-term commitments overseas. Clearly, the divorce rate is one of the symptoms of what can be a growing problem. We established a service families task force last year, which came out of the strategic defence review and the people policy that was part of that. We are looking at all the factors that we believe...


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