HC Deb 29 January 2001 vol 362 cc68-9W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans NATO has for clearing up battlefields in Kosovo [147197]

Mr. Spellar

The primary responsibility for the clearing up in Kosovo is the civilian authority, which is currently the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The United Nations Mine Action Service (MAS) is responsible for the longer term task of fully clearing Kosovo of unexploded ordnance, and has established a UN Mine Action Co-ordination Centre (MACC) in Pristina to this end.

However, when KFOR deployed to Kosovo in June 1999, there was an immediate requirement to clear ordnance (both from Allies and Milosevic's security forces) that would have posed a hazard to peacekeeping forces. British service personnel were engaged in this activity. KFOR also took on the immediate task of making schools safe for the returning population of Kosovo prior to the UN establishing its own clearance programme. The NATO Secretary General's report "Kosovo One Year On—Achievement and Challenge" published on 21 March 2000, explained that KFOR soldiers and the international community have cleared unexploded ordnance and mines from some 16,000 homes, 1,165 schools and almost 2,000 kilometres of roads.

KFOR troops continue to provide mine disposal assistance to UN when requested, to make areas safe for the return of displaced persons.