HC Deb 30 June 1999 vol 334 cc338-9
Q3. Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

Who will be tasked with disarming the Kosovo Liberation Army?

The Deputy Prime Minister

I—[Interruption.] I always have problems with these closed questions.

As envisaged in United Nations Security Council resolution 1244, the commander of KFOR, General Sir Mike Jackson, is responsible for the demilitarisation of the KLA. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the House last week, the commander-in-chief of the KLA signed an undertaking on 21 June to hand in its weapons. This will be completed in stages over 90 days. I can tell the House that the KLA is showing clear signs of complying with the undertaking. It is moving to the designated assembly areas, assisting with mine clearance and starting the weapons handover. KFOR is doing all that it can to ensure that the KLA continues to abide by its undertakings.

Mr. Dalyell

Do soldiers, however professional and well trained, make satisfactory police officers in the long term?

The Deputy Prime Minister

It is the understanding, with the United Nations, that a police force will be introduced to the area. We have already committed a number of police to that force. The more we see movement towards normal circumstances in Kosovo, the more that will be welcomed by those on both sides of the House. The objectives that we set for Kosovo were controversial and they have been carried out. In these circumstances, the introduction of a police force will be another important step to bring about normality.

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith (Wealden)

What assessment has the Deputy Prime Minister made of the remarks yesterday by Vuk Draskovic and of the effect that they will have on the disarming of the KLA?

The Deputy Prime Minister

I do not think that they will have any effect upon that. We have entered into an undertaking and all the signs are that the KLA is carrying it out, as I have said. That should be welcomed by both sides of the House.

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