§ Mr. Hendry
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made with the provision of humanitarian assistance to the former Yugoslavia since the Birmingham summit.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Good progress has been made in a number of areas. We have now committed more than £70 million in humanitarian assistance to the former Yugoslavia: approximately £41 million as our share of the EC's relief programme and over £29.5 million bilaterally.
We have played a leading role in establishing the European Community task force, an initiative which stems from the Birmingham summit. We have been the first member state to provide trucks and staff—including the leader for the task force. As also envisaged at Birmingham, member states have now appointed special representatives to oversee their humanitarian assistance to the former Yugoslavia: they meet shortly under the chairmanship of the United Kingdom special representative, Tim Lankester, the Permanent Secretary of the Overseas Development Administration.
In the meantime, we have also gone forward with direct action mainly in central Bosnia where the suffering is greatest. There are now 43 British trucks together with trailers, support vehicles and maintenance back up working on relief convoys. There are 75 British civilian 457W personnel working on the convoys or seconded as technical experts to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They will be joined by another 20 construction workers this week who will work on a major shelter programme designed to make existing buildings weather proof for around 20,000 people this winter in some of the worst affected areas. This is in addition to our substantial financial support for UN HCR, the World Health Organisation, the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations. It is also in addition to the cost of providing 2,400 British troops for the UN protection force.