HL I [Srebrenica]
|Document type:||public statement|
|Document kind:||House of Lords|
|Venue:||House of Lords|
|Source:||Hansard HL [565/1723-24]|
|Themes:||Foreign policy (Central and Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (International organisations), Defence (general)|
My Lords, may I thank [Lady Chalker] my noble friend for repeating the Statement and perhaps make a number of comments and ask a number of questions. As I listened to her—and I have listened to other Statements on the subject—I had the impression that so long as this operation is supervised by Unprofor, no one will ever get a hold of it and take the requisite decisions and action to bring it to an end and see that the victims win and the aggressors are vanquished. Would she therefore see whether it is possible to put the matter under NATO, which would be much, much more effective?
Secondly, as I listened to the scene that my noble friend described, I was reminded that the right of self-defence is far older than the United Nations. The United Nations did not invent it and the United Nations has no right, in effect, to make it inoperative. Why, then, in view of the scene that she described and the lack of men and equipment, are the Bosnians not allowed to arm themselves effectively with sufficiently strong equipment and sufficient munitions to defeat the Serb aggressor? The Serb is the aggressor; the Bosnians are the victims. We should not deny them the fundamental right to self-defence. I doubt the legality of doing it, and I have no doubt that it is morally wrong to deny them that right.
Thirdly, my noble friend spoke of the United Nations resolutions and the possibility of there being more. Will she agree that the resolutions on humanitarian aid and on protecting the safe areas are taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and are enforcement resolutions, and, therefore, the Unprofor troops have the right to enforce humanitarian aid getting through and have the right to enforce the safety of safe areas? By 1724calling these areas "safe" we have encouraged innocent people to go into them. We should therefore make proper provision for their effective defence. All those resolutions are under Chapter VII. They are not peacekeeping; there is no peace to keep. They are to enforce the resolutions. Those powers are not being used. We have the weapons, we have the quality, the number and the most excellent armed forces, in particular those to whom my noble friend referred. They are not being used to protect the innocent.
Finally, my noble friend spoke of negotiations. There have been negotiations after negotiations after negotiations after negotiations. The last round of negotiations actually gave land to the Serbs from the Bosnians. The Bosnians were prepared to accept that if it would bring peace. We can have no more negotiations. The Serbs must accept the agreement of the contact group. There is no point in more negotiations because each time more are entered into the Serbs are given hope: the Serbs need only have a bit more aggression and there is a bit more land. That will not do. There are many potential aggressors looking at and learning from what is happening in Bosnia, waiting to see whether they would get away with it, in countries of the former Soviet Union and of the Middle East. Please will my noble friend take away the message that soft words will not do? We need stern, calmly calculated, effective action.