HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 c20
18. Mr. John Randall (Uxbridge)

If he will make a statement on operations in the Balkans. [76711]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram)

In response to the improved security situation in the Balkans, NATO is implementing significant changes to its peacekeeping forces. The United Kingdom will continue to play a significant part in peacekeeping operations through its contribution, which will include a battle group in Bosnia and a light-role battalion in Kosovo.

Mr. Randall

I thank the Minister for that reply.

As our commitment in the Balkans seems to he winding down in respect of regular forces, is the Minister's plan to use some of the reservists in a peacekeeping role?

Mr. Ingram

Already about 10 per cent. of those currently in use are reservists. The hon. Gentleman's question suggests that we are running down the numbers because of some other pressure point. That is not the case. It is sensible planning as we move the countries that make up the Balkans towards a more normal type of society. Clearly, the military presence would decline over time anyway, but use can be made of the Territorial Army in those circumstances. That is good for them and for the country.