HC Deb 26 March 2002 vol 382 c849W
Mr. Randall

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what military aid is being given by the UK Government to the FYR Macedonia; and what plans his Department has to give military aid to the FYR Macedonia in the next six months. [45243]

Mr. Ingram

A small number of British military strategic planners are providing advice to the Macedonian Ministry of Defence. These planners are led by a United Kingdom Defence Adviser to the Macedonian government, whose role is to advise on Macedonia's NATO Membership Action Plan and on improvements in the Macedonian government's ability to carry out defence planning. The UK provides similar Defence Advisors to the Ministry of Defences of other NATO aspirant nations.

We have a well-established outreach programme of bilateral defence assistance with Macedonia, designed to help establish democratically accountable, cost-effective armed forces that are capable of contributing to national, regional and international security. The programme includes English language training in the UK and at the Military Academy in Skopje; multinational seminars and courses; arms control training; and assistance with personnel and budgeting matters.

Recently a British Military Advisory and Training Team provided advice on how to conduct low-level counter-insurgency training for the Macedonian Rapid Reaction Brigade, so as to meet Western standards for such training. We expect this programme to continue over the next months and will investigate what military assistance we can best provide for the Macedonian for the longer term.

During 2001 the UK donated a range of non-lethal military equipment to the Macedonian Government. The equipment gifted was body armour, mine detectors, global positioning system devices, a remote control bomb disposal vehicle, and parachute flares.

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