HC Deb 11 February 2002 vol 380 c18
13. Mr. David Crausby (Bolton, North-East)

If he will make a statement on the recent activities of UK forces in Kosovo. [31904]

The Minister of State for Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram)

The United Kingdom currently contributes some 3,000 personnel to KFOR operations in Kosovo as framework nation of the multinational brigade centre. UK forces take part in the full range of tasks carried out by KFOR. KFOR's main focus is the provision of a safe and secure environment in Kosovo, including the protection of minority communities and the countering of threats from extremist groups.

Mr. Crausby

Attention is rightly focused on Afghanistan, but will the Minister congratulate our troops serving with KFOR? Will he ensure that the prospect of a spell in Kosovo does not become detrimental to the retention of the young men and women serving in our forces?

Mr. Ingram

I would be only too happy to associate myself with my hon. Friend's views, and congratulate our forces on their very important work not just in Kosovo, but in all the other areas in which they are deployed internationally. I assure him that the expertise and knowledge gained on those deployments usually stand members of the armed forces in good stead for their future prospects in the service.

Mr. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster)

Which other countries are likely to be heavily involved in the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo? We hear much about the UK's involvement, but I would be interested to know which of our European partners are playing an equal role.

Mr. Ingram

To give due justice to that question, it is better that I set out in detail all the individual nations that participate and all the contributions they make. The international effort in Kosovo is considerable: there are in the region of 42,000 troops in KFOR, 37,000 of whom are based in Kosovo. I shall provide the hon. Gentleman with a detailed breakdown of those deployments, which I shall place in the Library of the House.

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