HL Deb 09 November 1999 vol 606 cc136-7WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps are being taken and by whom to restore navigation throughout the Danube, particularly in view of the dangers posed by ice during the winter months and the danger of flooding in countries other than Serbia. [HL4392].

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

The International Danube River Commission is in the lead on matters relating to the navigation of the Danube. They have recently assessed that clearing the Danube of the debris blocking it could be accomplished fairly rapidly at a cost of about 14 million euros.

However, the co-operation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) is a prerequisite for any work to start. The government of FRY have made it clear in a memorandum to the Danube River Commission that they will only co-operate once all economic sanctions against FRY are lifted. They also demand that the reconstruction of the bridges is financed by the international community as "reparations".

These conditions are unacceptable and are in breach of the 1948 Danube Convention. In these circumstances, work to clear the Danube cannot go ahead.

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