HC Deb 02 December 1992 vol 215 cc241-2W
Mr. Home Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flights over Bosnia in contravention of the United Nations no-fly zone have been identified by radar surveillance deployed to monitor that zone; how many such flights have been directly involved in offensive missions; and what action has been taken in response to such flights.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

Monitoring of compliance with the no-fly zone imposed on the airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Security Council resolution 781 of 9 October is being conducted by aircraft of NATO's airborne early warning force and by ground monitors deployed at airfields in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia/ Montenegro by the United Nations protection force and the EC monitor mission. Immediately following the passage of the resolution there were a number of sorties by fixed-wing aircraft, which included the use of aircraft for ground attack. From 13 October to date, there have been no confirmed reports of any use of aircraft for ground attack or other combat purpose, by either fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. The ban on flights in SCR 781 applies only to flights with a military purpose. Provision was made for exemptions, subject to prior approval by the United Nations protection force, for flights for humanitarian purposes or in pursuance of the peace process. In his periodic reports to the Security Council, the United Nations Secretary-General has reported that a total of 204 flights, predominantly by helicopters, have been recorded up to 26 November, other than those for which exemptions have been given, but that there has not been evidence on which to judge whether the flights were of a military nature. Action is being taken to remind the parties concerned of the requirement and procedures for the authorisation of flights. SCR 781 provides that, in the event of evident violations of the ban, the Security Council will consider urgently the further measures necessary to enforce it.

Mr. Menzies Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what examination his Department has carried out of the feasibility of the enforcement by military means of a no-fly zone over Bosnia.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

United Nations Security Council resolution 781 of 9 October 1992 banned flights with a military purpose by the warring parties in the airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It did not itself contain provision for enforcement, but provided for regular reports by the Secretary-General on compliance with the ban, and for the Security Council to consider urgently the further measures needed to enforce the ban in the event of violations. The Security Council made clear in SCR 786 of 11 November its determination to do so if necessary.

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