HC Deb 07 November 2000 vol 356 cc157-8
11. Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax)

What help the UK will be giving the new Government of Yugoslavia to further advance its integration into Europe. [135170]

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Robin Cook)

We warmly welcome the powerful rejection of Milosevic by the people of Serbia. We acted immediately to lift European sanctions. We have admitted Yugoslavia to the European stability pact for the Balkans. Britain is also supporting Yugoslavia's admission, at the ministerial meeting later this month, to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Since the fall of Milosevic, the European Union has allocated 200 million euros for immediate aid and reconstruction. We promised that if the people of Serbia voted for democratic change, we would bring down the barriers between them and Europe. We are delivering on that promise.

Mrs. Mahon

I welcome my right hon. Friend's remarks on aid for Yugoslavia. One of the main consequences of the war was the blocking of the Danube, because bridges over it were bombed. I am therefore glad that the Secretary of State has made it clear that aid and not loans will be made available. However, does he not agree that circulating planted questions—in the hope that a hapless Back Bencher will stand up and call those of us who opposed the bombings abusive names—will do nothing towards achieving peace and reconciliation in the Balkans?

Mr. Cook

I am happy to assure the House that I did not plant the question that my hon. Friend asked.