HL Deb 14 April 1993 vol 544 cc1099-110

5.7 p.m.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey)

My Lords, with the leave of the House I should like to repeat a Statement which is being made in another place by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence. The Statement is as follows: "The House will share the Government's feelings of outrage at the artillery attack on Srebrenica on Monday, in which according to reports at least 56 people were killed and 70 wounded. This was a new milestone of inhumanity in a conflict which had already spawned many atrocities. On this occasion, as on many others, the Bosnian Serbs appear to have been responsible. We should remember that the Serbs in Bosnia are not uniquely guilty, though they bear the main responsibility for current events in Bosnia. The other parties too have committed crimes. Indeed, the British soldier who was killed in January while escorting a convoy of sick and wounded did not fall to a Serbian bullet.

"It is not for want of effort by the international community that these horrors continue. The Government have been at the forefront of these efforts. The London conference last August, co-chaired by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, renewed the search for a negotiated settlement of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia—not only in Bosnia. Since then the Government have given their fullest support to the efforts of Lord Owen and Mr. Vance to achieve such a settlement. Success seemed in sight three weeks ago when the Bosnian Moslems joined the Bosnian Croats in signing all the elements of the Owen-Vance peace plan. It is a matter of the deepest regret that the Bosnian Serbs have not yet been prepared to sign. I hope that even at this late stage, and despite all that has happened, they will be prepared to reconsider.

"Meanwhile, our armed forces have been playing a leading and distinguished part both in bringing relief to the suffering in Bosnia and in enforcing the arms embargo against the whole of former Yugoslavia and the wider sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Since November the Cheshire battalion group has escorted over 33,000 tonnes of food and other humanitarian aid to destinations in Bosnia. RAF Hercules aircraft have flown 427 sorties to Sarajevo and delivered nearly 6,000 tonnes of aid. Ships of the Royal Navy, assisted by airborne early warning and maritime patrol aircraft of the RAF, have patrolled the Adriatic and its surrounding airspace, alongside allies in NATO and the Western European Union, to enforce the embargo and the sanctions. Earlier this week pressure on the warring factions was increased when NATO aircraft began patrolling Bosnian airspace to enforce the no-fly zone in accordance with Security Council Resolution 816. RAF Tornado F3s and tankers are on standby to fly to bases in Italy to join in this operation when called forward by SACEUR to do so.

"The Government fully share the widespread frustration that diplomacy and military pressure have not yet succeeded and that the suffering still continues. Other weapons are available. The sanctions noose is being drawn tighter against Serbia, whose future is grim; she faces isolation and economic ruin.

"At the same time the House will recognise that there are no easy solutions to a conflict in which all three ethnic groups have willingly engaged and which has many of the characteristics of a civil war. If there had been the international community would have applied them long ago. Some argue that, if the outside world is not prepared to intervene militarily, it should at least refrain from enforcing an arms embargo which is bound to favour the Serbs since they have access to the arsenals of the Yugoslav National Army. That is an understandable argument, but we should be clear where it leads.

"Removal of the United Nations arms embargo would certainly result in the Bosnian Moslems being free to acquire all the weapons that they needed. Presumably the Bosnian Serbs for their part would also seek more arms from other countries. The result would be to prolong the conflict and to make it ever bloodier and more vicious than it is today, bringing continuing suffering to innocent civilians. In those circumstances it is difficult to see how UNPROFOR's humanitarian mission could continue. The chances of negotiating aid through the front lines, as at present, would be sharply diminished. Meanwhile the international consensus would almost certainly have been lost.

"The United Nations' efforts in former Yugoslavia so far have been made possible by Russian willingness to support the necessary resolutions and to put pressure on the Serbs. That co-operation has been invaluable, but given the internal situation in Russia it cannot be taken for granted. It would be unlikely to survive an escalation of the conflict through the removal of the arms embargo.

"There have also been calls for the use of air strikes to enforce a peace settlement. There could be circumstances in which the selective use of air power would be relevant. NATO, at the request of the United Nations, is enforcing the no-fly zone at the present time. But the clear military advice received by the Government is that air strikes unsupported by substantial numbers of troops on the ground would be unlikely to be effective given the nature of the conflict, the weapons deployed and the terrain. The chances of civilian casualties would be high. Meanwhile the risks to British and other United Nations troops, and to the success of the humanitarian relief operation, would remain. While one should not rule out that expedient absolutely, it is one which would change in a fundamental way the role of the United Nations and bring it into the heart of the conflict as a combatant.

"The right course to pursue is the current policy, thankless and frustrating as it is. Diplomacy must continue. Pressure on those responsible for prolonging the conflict must be increased. The plight of the suffering must be alleviated. The international consensus necessary to do all those things must be maintained. Those will continue to be the Government's objectives."

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.

5.14 p.m.

Lord Williams of Elvel

My Lords, the House is grateful to the noble Baroness for repeating the Statement made in another place. The noble Baroness will undoubtedly recognise, as did the Statement she repeated, the widespread frustration that is felt not only in this country but throughout the Community, and, as we read from today's press, in the United States, at the failure of the United Nations policy in the former Yugoslavia.

Is it not the case that the United Nations policy seems to be in some sort of disarray at the moment? Are we clear exactly what the aims are? Are we even clear about the aims of the European Community? Can the noble Baroness respond and say what is the unanimity of view inside the European Community on the former Yugoslavia and the horrific events taking place there at the moment?

I should like to ask the noble Baroness two sets of questions, one political and the other on defence matters. First, in the Statement she repeated she referred to the Owen-Vance solution. How many times must we go on with that? Is it now engraved in stone that there is agreement among some parties and not others? Do we wait until, by some magic, the others agree? Are there any fallback solutions that the United Nations has in mind? Does the new negotiator have any further thoughts he wishes to put forward? I recognise the difficulties of confidentiality that must be maintained. But has the noble Baroness any comments she would like to make on those points this afternoon?

Secondly, are the sanctions against Serbia really being enforced to their limit? That seems to me to be the crux of the matter. We are told that the sanctions are being broken almost daily. If that is happening on the Danube or elsewhere, should not both the European Community and the United Nations be taking strenuous action to ensure that those sanctions apply and indeed are strengthened?

I come now to my questions on the military advice that the Government have received. I echo the Statement's views on the contribution made by our armed forces to humanitarian relief in Bosnia, under enormous difficulty and great danger, as the noble Baroness pointed out. We congratulate them on what they have done. But are they not simply sitting ducks in the light of the fact that there is no military involvement at all? I refer to the point in the last part of the Statement repeated by the noble Baroness which says, There could be circumstances in which the selective use of air power would be relevant". Can the noble Baroness say what advice the Government are receiving from the chiefs of staff on the circumstances in which such selective use of air power could be relevant? Do we have the air power? Does it need the United States to take out, for instance, Serbian artillery that even this morning was shelling Srebrenica with cluster shells that kill and maim children? What military advice are the Government receiving on that?

Lastly, we support the policy outlined in the Statement. But we must recognise that there is a growing section of public opinion that is frustrated and fed up with the lack of progress being made in the former Yugoslavia. We continue to see on our television screens scenes which we have not seen almost since the Second World War. We never saw them direct on television at that time, which is what we are seeing now. We are seeing pictures of children blinded by the effects of the cluster shells that the Serbs are pouring into Srebrenica. Public opinion will not for ever be calmed—we hope that it is calm but it will not for ever be calmed—by the Statement repeated by the noble Baroness this afternoon.

Lord Bonham-Carter

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for repeating the Statement made by her right honourable friend in another place. I associate myself with the tributes being paid to our troops for taking on the difficult and dangerous task in which they are involved.

In that connection, amid the many frustrations which the whole operation has provoked, we should not forget the important achievement of humanitarian aid in averting famine. However, there have been reports over the weekend that food supplies and/or money to purchase food for the United Nations are running out. Is that truly the case? Will the Minister comment on that and say what steps are being taken to prevent that happening?

One is obviously concerned at the Russian request to delay the vote in the Security Council on new sanctions to be imposed on Serbia, but I share the view of the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel. What steps are being taken to enforce more rigorously the sanctions that are already in place? It is widely reported that oil is being transported down the Danube in large quantities. It is widely reported that arms are being obtained by the Serbs from Greece and from other countries. It is not very sensible to worry about new sanctions if existing sanctions are not being enforced. I should very much like to hear what the noble Baroness has to say on that topic.

Obviously the events reported this week in Srebrenica are appalling and shocking and add to the feelings of frustration that have been widely expressed here and elsewhere. In the face of those horrors one understands the response of those who say that something must be done and who suggest among other things that we should arm the Bosnian Moslems. I would only say to that, as has already been said by someone—I cannot quite remember who—that one does not put out a fire by throwing petrol on it. What will happen if Srebrenica falls? It is in the Moslem zone. What will happen then to the Owen-Vance plan? After that, the heat will be turned on to Sarajevo, or Zepa or Goradze. What steps are we taking to ensure that they do not fall also? That is a legitimate question to ask. If those Moslem towns are all occupied, where will that leave the plan on which so many hopes have been pinned?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, I thank both noble Lords for their questions. I do not believe that the UN policy is in disarray. It is perfectly true that there has been difficulty in persuading the Russians over the enforcement of the no-fly zone and subsequently over the implementation of a tougher sanctions regime. I understand that what happened late last night in New York was that, with the 15-day delay in the enforcement of a tougher sanctions regime, this would take us beyond the date in Moscow when certain very important events are to take place. The discussions which are going on between my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, the Foreign Ministers of the other G7 nations and the Russian Foreign Minister today may give us more information about the difficulties that the Russians were having with this. But those discussions will also be used to persuade the Russians to get the Serbs to sign up to the Vance-Owen peace plan.

We are quite clear about the UN aims and EC aims, which are to enforce the sanctions, to deliver humanitarian aid and to bring as much relief to the suffering as we can. Of that there is no doubt. The noble Lord, Lord Williams, asked how long we should go along with the Vance-Owen peace plan. We have at least to work through the next fortnight to try to make sure that, if there is any chance of getting not only the Bosnian Serbs to sign up to the Vance-Owen peace plan but also of ensuring that it is implemented, we should try that. The steps that have been suggested by some are extremely serious and take us down a path which the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, did not advocate but which we all understand is a very natural human reaction to this desperate situation. Goodness me, I have seen it with my own eyes. There is no way in which I shall ever stand by if anything can reasonably be done to halt this.

The noble Lords, Lord Williams and Lord Bonham-Carter, asked whether we are enforcing sanctions to the limit. The sanctions missions that are in place—the EC and CSCE sanctions missions—in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and Ukraine are working much better. We have highlighted several loopholes. We have advised those governments how to close them and monitoring is going on to make sure that that happens. We are also about to establish a new EC/CSCE mission in Albania in case sanctions are being broken there. We have had discussions between the WEU Council and the riparian states on the establishment of the Western European Union flotilla to enforce sanctions on the Danube. The NATO and WEU monitoring exercise in the Adriatic is making a valuable contribution. We have offered £100,000 to assist with the tightening of sanctions as they are at the moment, and if the stronger sanctions are brought in by UN resolution in a couple of weeks' time all efforts will be made to ensure that the riparian states can implement those sanctions. That indeed has been one of the problems.

I was asked about the Armed Forces' contribution in Bosnia. They are indeed making a tremendous contribution. The noble Lord, Lord Bonham-Carter, referred to the importance of humanitarian aid. I must remember more than 100 of my own employed staff who are working on the humanitarian convoys, of which there have been more than 400 in Bosnia since November. They are tremendously helped by our Armed Forces. From my own observations and the reports we receive I do not believe that our military are sitting ducks, as the noble Lord described them. However, I do believe that they work extremely carefully in the central Bosnia area. We are not in Eastern Bosnia where the latest terrible atrocities have occurred. We have regular advice on a daily basis from our chiefs of staff. It would not be for me to give that advice in public but we are well aware of the limitations. I would remind the House that we could not evict the Iraqis from Kuwait by air power alone. We had also to have the allies on the ground in order to do it. I therefore ask all those who think that an air strike system might solve the problem of Eastern Bosnia to realise that in a much more accessible military situation in Kuwait we needed ground troops there as well.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bonham-Carter, in many ways. I can assure him that the food supplies are not running out. Britain was the first donor to respond to the latest UN appeal with a further contribution of more than £15 million, bringing total UK humanitarian aid to more than £92 million. Others have yet to make similar pledges but are beginning to do so. The scale of the problem is huge. The European Commission is looking urgently at making further funds available but there have been some difficulties in the supply line. There is no lack of money and the difficulties in the supply line are being dealt with.

The noble Lord, Lord Bonham-Carter, asked me to speculate on what would happen if Srebrenica fell. He asked about the outcome of the Vance-Owen peace plan and how we would protect other plans. No one can envisage exactly what would happen and certainly it is not my job at this Dispatch Box to speculate. All I can say is that both the British Government and all the other governments who want to see an end to this slaughter are determined that that shall happen. We shall work to that end.

5.30 p.m.

Baroness Thatcher

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for the Statement that she has been kind enough to make. I ask her two questions although it may take a little time to put them.

First, let us bear in mind that the present policies of food aid, medical aid, plus negotiations, plus sanctions have been in place for about a year; that the sanctions have been in place in Iraq for two-and-a-half years and have not worked; and that the no-fly zone authority does not permit us to attack a ground target even though it is mortar bombing selectively hospitals and schools. Bearing in mind, therefore, that all of those factors have left the people at the mercy of the Serbs, subject to ethnic cleansing, 2 million refugees subject to massacre and slaughter, with something like 130,000 murdered, is it the Government's stance, as I thought from the noble Baroness's Statement, to leave those things to continue as they are without changing policy? That means the continuing suffering of the Moslem people which we would not tolerate in this country. Alternatively, is it, as I thought I heard the noble Baroness half say in her reply, that we shall give the Bosnian Serbs a fortnight to decide to accept the Vance-Owen proposals and implement them? No one will take their word for anything. If they do not accept the proposals we shall then pursue a more active policy which demonstrates more resolve. Which is it? I submit that we cannot continue with a policy which says to the Moslems, "You must submit and surrender".

My second question is this. The right of self-defence was not invented with the United Nations Charter but is as old as mankind itself. That right is recognised by Article 51 of the Charter which states that, nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence". Bearing those factors in mind, why have the Government left the people, although they have a right of self-defence, without tile means of implementing that right against a vicious aggressor? We would not stand for that in this country. In answering the question, will the noble Baroness bear in mind that there is nothing moral or right about leaving a people defenceless in the path of a determined dictator aggressor?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, I understand fully what my noble friend Lady Thatcher said and why she put it in the terms that she did. However, it would simply do no good for Britain alone to act on the basis of the very strong emotion which every person in this House and in another place feels. Let us have no doubts about that. What we must have is a practical resolution. There is no lack of resolve. I have probably spent more hours on the situation in Bosnia than on any other single situation requiring our frequent attention at this present time, and the same is true for every member of the Government involved. But it is the question of the practicality of action.

The first thing that we must not do is to risk worsening and extending the action. As I made clear in answer to the earlier questions from the Front Benches opposite, we have to take careful note that in Kuwait air strikes did not solve the situation. Ground troops also were needed. This is a much more difficult terrain where we have far less intelligence, where much of the Serb armaments are at times hidden in the hills and cannot be detected. Therefore whatever we do, we have to do it to help those poor people and also to make sure that what we do works, and works at an affordable risk.

We also need to maintain the broadest international front against Serbian aggression. I have to say to my noble friend that it would become impossible to sustain the humanitarian operation if we were to follow the course which she advocated yesterday on the television. I have had repeated discussions with Mrs. Ogata, the High Commissioner for Refugees, and other leading members of the UN and I am convinced that we should not lightly jeopardise an operation which has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, not over the past year but over the past six months since the British troops were involved on the ground in Bosnia.

I well understand the frustration that sanctions have not brought about an end to the confrontation, but I can assure my noble friend and this House that sanctions are bringing about a very severe financial situation in Serbia. Tightening those sanctions, and indeed extending them, is what we certainly may need to do. It is not a question of leaving people unprotected. It is a question of making sure that we work together to stop an all-out war which many of the solutions advocated by my noble friend could well cause.

The question of using air power is not one that has been totally rejected; but we must indeed ask the questions about humanitarian relief. We must also ask whether using air power would cause the Serbs to desist. There are many ways in which we can continue to help and we shall take whatever steps the Government, in co-operation with all their partners, deem necessary to bring this slaughter to a speedy end.

Lord Merlyn-Rees

My Lords, I approve of Government policy, perhaps because I was in that area 50 years ago when a civil war was taking place and perhaps because I visited Vietnam and saw the mistakes that the Americans made when they tried to deal with a guerilla war situation with the slaughter of heavy bombing and long distance strikes—the sort of action that is being asked for now—and they lost. Guerilla warfare requires a different method of fighting wars and usually the great powers lose.

It is a hateful civil war. The hateful civil war aspect is not new in that part of the world. I have never been back because on all sides the children and women suffer—God only knows—but nobody is right. History hangs heavily in that part of the world and we have to understand it.

I wish to raise two matters. First, on the number of troops, let us remember that when the opportunity arose in 1943 the allies did not go into Yugoslavia with large numbers of soldiers. It would have been easy to do so, but it would have been a grave mistake. The Germans learnt the mistake the hard way. They had as many as 13 divisions—it is true that some were at half strength; let us say that there were seven divisions—but they were beaten by guerilla warfare. With regard to the European Community, do not expect German soldiers to be in Yugoslavia. That aspect of civil war is written into the life blood of the people of that country.

The Americans talk glibly in the UN about long distance strikes. That is different from close support for the army, as the noble Baroness stated. But one requires large numbers of soldiers. One needs close support every five or 10 minutes of the day, picking out the artillery just over the horizon. That will not come from long distance fighter bombers coming from Verona, Treviso or anywhere like that. The chiefs of staff are absolutely right to pour cold water on that. If it is a matter of bombing Belgrade or the other towns in the area from a great height, that would look good on the television, but there are some matters for which there are no solutions. This is one of them. It takes time. I wish the Government well in what they are doing.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for what he has said. He is so right when he says that the civil war has long gone on. Our 2,000 plus troops in Bosnia are escorting humanitarian aid and maintaining the peace at many checkpoints. They are doing a fantastic job, along with all the aid workers. The noble Lord is also right that long-distance air strikes would not succeed without ground support. The desperate truth about bombing is that it always creates even more civilian casualties. I ask the House not to forget that the EC monitoring mission has some 350 brave people, from 16 countries, monitoring the ceasefires where they exist and seeking to promote dialogue and to assist the humanitarian activity. There is a great deal going on on the ground which is keeping at least some of the peace.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I declare an interest as the father of a serving soldier. May I ask my noble friend to confirm that it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government not to expose British troops to casualties even in dealing with those horrible people in that horrible country?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right.

Lord Hylton

My Lords, can the noble Baroness confirm reports that the President of the United States has indicated to the Serbian side that the Bosnians will be rearmed unless the Vance-Owen proposals are signed?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, I cannot speak for the President of the United States, but there has been press comment to that effect.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon

My Lords, does the noble Baroness agree that the premature recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has never really been a sovereign state, should teach us that impatience is a bad counsellor? Can she also say just how many troops she believes would be required to back up any air bombardment of the Serbs (or anybody else for that matter) because—does she not agree?—atrocities are being committed by Moslems and Croats as well as by Serbs? Finally, can we have her assurance that, before any military commitment takes place in the former Yugoslavia, this House and the House of Commons will be consulted and empowered to make a decision?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, perhaps I should say first to the noble Lord that I well understand his impatience. He is right that taking decisions hastily in a matter as serious as this is very poor counsel. He asked how many thousands of troops might be involved. I can only tell him that it would be hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground because of the terrain. Driving over it, as we did for seven and a half hours to reach the headquarters of the British troops, I saw some of the most mountainous country that I have ever seen outside Nepal. It would be an almost impossible job without hundreds of thousands of troops.

Perhaps I may add that atrocities are being committed by Moslems and Croats as well as by Serbs. There is no doubt of that. Today we have launched some help for the women who have suffered in those atrocities. The help will go to Bosnia to assist them there. Any military activity would certainly not be taken by Britain alone. Any military activity would have to be discussed in the United Nations and NATO, so the noble Lord can be assured that there would be discussions both here and in another place.

The Earl of Lauderdale

My Lords, I wonder whether my noble friend can enlarge upon one point that she has made. She referred to the WEU flotilla on the Danube. Can she say a bit more about it, bearing in mind that the Danube and the Black Sea areas are of great interest and sensitivity to the Ukraine and Russia?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, I cannot give my noble friend a great deal more detail except to say that we have found that one of the reasons why the sanctions work was so difficult for the riparian states to implement was the lack of an adequate radio communications network. That is why we are considering giving them the means which will help them to enforce the sanctions even more tightly on the Danube. I well understand the concern of the neighbouring states, but the point must be that if the United Nations has decided on these sanctions—rightly, we believe—they must be fully implemented.

Lord Mackie of Benshie

My Lords, does the Minister agree that this is not a guerilla war; this is Milosevic, in charge of a large and powerful group which he is holding together, successfully attacking ethnic groups in territory that he wants to occupy? Does she also agree that these circumstances are entirely different from what happened in Iraq in that we are dealing with a man who could be persuaded? I know that she will not agree, but would she agree, or perhaps consider, that the tone of the questions, answers and Statement will be of tremendous encouragement to Milosevic in that he has at least a month to continue his appalling work?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, no. The noble Lord is quite wrong to put that interpretation on anything in the Statement that I have repeated in this House today, on anything that I have said or on anything that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence has said in the media. It is an entirely different situation from Kuwait, which Iraq invaded. It is a civil war—and it is a civil war that is being played out in the most disgusting way against innocent people. However, there is no way in which even the United Nations (or part of the United Nations or NATO) can rapidly move in, as some have advocated. As the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party in another place has said, that would be adding fuel to the existing flames. I ask the noble Lord to be extremely careful in placing interpretations on what is one of the most difficult of times when it comes to knowing how best to help the innocents in Bosnia.

Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, while most people in this country will be experiencing horror and frustration (and I trust that the Government will take fully into account the points that have been raised by my noble friend Lady Thatcher), does my noble friend agree that there is a vast difference between intervening in a civil war involving at least three factions in ambiguously held territories and in defending Britain's shores against one obvious single enemy in the world war in 1940, a time that some of us who were in the Armed Forces then remember very well?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, my noble friend could not be more right. This is a very complicated civil war. On my own visits there I found Croats fighting Moslems, Moslems fighting Serbs, Croats and Serbs fighting within Bosnia and battles being played out even within those groups. That is entirely different from defending our shores or even from defending the shores of the Falklands, as my noble friend Lady Thatcher did so wisely. It is a very different situation.

Lord Ewing of Kirkford

My Lords, I wonder whether I may gently chide the noble Baroness about her use of the phrase "a perfectly understandable human reaction" in relation to the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher, expressing the views that she expressed so forcibly yesterday. Is the Minister aware that, like every other Member of your Lordships' House, I speak only for myself and I can assure the noble Baroness that it is not "a perfectly understandable human reaction" on my part to arm people and to allow them to shoot, maim and kill each other almost daily? It is that kind of response—the Minister saying that that is a perfectly understandable human reaction—that gives credibility to the views of the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher. We ought not underestimate the degree of support which the noble Baroness and her views have in the country at present. May I also ask the Minister to explain to the noble Baroness that Article 51 of the United Nations treaty refers to "nation states" not to "civil wars"?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

My Lords, I think that the noble Lord is purposely misunderstanding me. I believe that it is right that ordinary people are horrified—perfectly understandably—by what is going on in Bosnia. That was the use of the phrase that I made, not the one that was attributed to me. No one wishes to increase the number of arms in this already unruly place, and certainly not the British Government.

Lord Harmar-Nicholls

My Lords—

Lord Hesketh

My Lords, the 20 minutes, as recommended in the Companion, are now exhausted, and I believe that the House will wish to begin the debate on forestry.