HC Deb 17 February 1997 vol 290 c406W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support the joint appeal by the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands for the creation of a UN rapid deployment brigade; and if he will make a statement. [15825]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

We welcome this initiative. We are, however, concerned that earmarking specific troops for the proposed force would place restrictions on our ability to provide the most appropriate UK contribution in a particular UN operation. We would also be concerned about the possible effect on our other operational responsibilities.

We support the UN Secretary-General's standby force planning arrangements, under which UN member states declare the forces and assets they are prepared to provide on a case-by-case basis. We have provided the UN secretariat with detailed information on UK forces we might make available, and have encouraged others to do the same.

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