§ 4. Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby)
If he will make a statement on the situation in Kosovo. 
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Keith Vaz)
We welcome the successful and peaceful conduct of the local elections in Kosovo on 28 October. It sends a clear message that Kosovo is making further progress towards democracy and tolerance. We look forward to working with the newly elected members of the municipal authorities in tackling the many tasks ahead.
§ Mr. Wareing
The Defence Committee has reported that 98 per cent. of the unguided bombs dropped by the Royal Air Force on Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia during the recent conflict missed their target. Would it therefore be an appropriate gesture at this time for Her Majesty's Government to send an apology to President Kostunica and to offer compensation? How many times has the Minister visited Kosovo and other Balkan countries?
§ Mr. Vaz
I am surprised at my hon. Friend. Here is a golden opportunity to welcome the elections and to look forward to a period of peace, democracy and stability in the Balkans. We are not in this House to be apologists for Milosevic. We believe firmly that the people of Kosovo deserve our support—not empty gestures, but practical support, such as that the Government have put into KFOR and UNMIK. We shall continue to provide the people of Kosovo with such support, so that there is real peace and stability in the region. I would have thought that my hon. Friend would support that process.
§ Dr. Jenny Tonge (Richmond Park)
What progress is being made with the Balkan stability pact, with special reference to Albania, Kosovo's neighbour?
§ Mr. Vaz
My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister will continue to work with the stability pact. The Government have a duty to ensure that it is a success. We receive reports from time to time at the General Affairs Council and will continue to support the work of the pact. It is not just a matter of individual countries in the region. The pact is intended to bring peace and stability to the whole region, and to make sure that the people of the Balkans, and Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, have a stable future.
§ Mr. Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)
What would be the impact on the delicate situation in Kosovo, were George W. Bush ever to have the opportunity of carrying out his threat to withdraw United States forces from the Balkans?
§ Sir Peter Emery (East Devon)
Does the Minister realise that on the ground in Kosovo there is considerable concern about the apparent lack of co-operation between certain of the military forces and, even worse, as I tried to expound in the defence debate last week, there is uncertainty about where and how the United Nations is carrying out its mandate? Will the Minister look into that? The last thing that we want is to let the people down by not ensuring that what we are doing is helpful to them.
§ Mr. Vaz
The right hon. Gentleman is an experienced parliamentarian. He will know that that is an agonisingly difficult problem. We give full support to the work that is being undertaken by UNMIK, which is there to implement resolution 1244 and bring communities together. There are 4,200 civilian police officers trying to keep the peace between the communities and rebuild the confidence that was destroyed by Milosevic. It will take time, but the way forward is to make a contribution and to support the work of KFOR and UNMIK, which the Government will continue to do, following the work of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and the initiatives that they have taken.