HC Deb 02 March 1994 vol 238 cc926-7
3. Mrs. Mahon

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on Bosnia.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Douglas Hurd)

Members of the Security Council consult continuously on that subject in capitals and in New York. The most recent formal meeting of the Security Council took place on 14 February.

Mrs. Mahon

Surely, if we are to have a lasting peace in Bosnia, agreements such as that declared today between the Croats and Muslims should occur after consultation with, and the agreement of, all five permanent members of the Security Council. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Serbian leaders are claiming that the United States is bypassing the United Nations? Does that not make affairs much more difficult in that area, especially for the Russians?

Mr. Hurd

As I told the House yesterday, we have welcomed the progress that the Americans have piloted between the Croats and the Muslims. We hope that that will form part of an eventual full settlement.

Sir Peter Emery

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the progress that has been made between the United Nations and the North Atlantic Assembly, which have advanced the prospect of peace, continues to try to ensure that other areas that are surrounded can be relieved?

Mr. Hurd

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend and I am sure that he is right.

Dr. John Cunningham

Since everything that has been done so far in Bosnia has been done with the authority of the resolutions of the Security Council, is it not important that, whatever objectives are sought with the best of intentions, they should be acceptable to the Security Council of the United Nations? Is it not apparently dangerous to see the developing spheres of influence dominated, on one hand, by the United States of America and, on the other hand, by Russia? If part of Bosnia is to ally itself with Croatia, is not the danger that the concomitant will be that the other part of Bosnia will want to be merged into a greater Serbia—something which the whole conflict has been an attempt to prevent? In those circumstances, what position will the European Union adopt?

Mr. Hurd

What we need and have been working for is a negotiated settlement. It cannot be imposed. It has to be negotiated. The content of that settlement is secondary; it has to be agreed. If the agreement announced yesterday between the Croats and the Muslims matures, if it takes full shape, the question will be how the Serbian part of Bosnia fits into that. That will be the next stage of the negotiation. Of course, all that has to be done under the basic authority of the UN.

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