HC Deb 07 December 1993 vol 234 cc128-9W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the meeting of the CSCE of Ministers in Rome.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs represented the United Kingdom at the Council meeting of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe which took place on 30 November and 1 December in Rome.

The Council decided to develop the CSCE's capabilities in conflict prevention, crisis management and in combating aggressive nationalism. Ministers endorsed arrangements for more comprehensive monitoring and oversight of peacekeeping forces deployed in Georgia. In this and other conflicts oversight and monitoring must ensure that third party military forces are deployed with the consent of the parties, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of CSCE states, are impartial and multinational in character, have a clear mandate and are integrally linked to a political process. There must be a plan for their orderly withdrawal.

The Council welcomed the resumption of peace talks in Geneva on the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. They urged the parties to take advantage of the initiative represented by the European Union action plan and called for the early, unconditional return of CSCE missions to Kosovo, Sandjak and Vojvodina. The Council emphasised that the CSCE stood ready, in co-operation with others, to rebuild civic society.

I regret that despite intensive negotiations the Council was unable to agree on any new steps to resolve the conflict dealt with by the Conference on Nagorno-Karabakh. Ministers asked the Chairman of the Minsk Conference to explore urgently the possibility of providing new impetus to the peace process.

The Council welcomed the withdrawal of Russian troops from Lithuania and stressed the political significance of speedy withdrawal of those remaining in Estonia and Latvia. The Council called for an early, orderly and complete withdrawal of the Russian 14th Army from Moldova and expressed concern at the lack of progress in finding a political solution to the problems of the Transdniester region. The Council decided to establish a CSCE mission to Tadjikstan to promote respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The Council reiterated the fundamental importance of respect for human rights and decided to strengthen the CSCE's instruments of conflict prevention and early warning in this context. The Council decided to enhance the role of the High Commissioner on National Minorities and to strengthen the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, for example in its ability to monitor elections.

I regret that the Council was unable to develop into principles on non-proliferation the commitment to indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty agreed at Stockholm in December 1992.

The Secretary General has taken up his appointment as envisaged at the Stockholm Council meeting last year. The Rome Council established a permanent committee in Vienna under the Chairman in Office, to be supported by a unified Secretariat. These arrangements should enable the CSCE to fulfil more effectively its role in setting standards in human rights, resolving conflict, and providing early warning of possible crises. I hope that the CSCE will make an increasingly effective contribution to peace and stability in our region.