Dáil Éireann - Volume 433 - 06 July, 1993

Written Answers. - Yugoslav Conflict.

38. Mr. Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the statement by the EC Commissioner Van den Broek that a situation on the former Yugoslavia requires an EC response which goes beyond economic and political measures; if he has any plans to initiate proposals for an EC peacemaking mission in the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): I am aware of the statement made by Commissioner Van den Broek on 4 June 1993 which dealt with the role of the European Community in trying to resolve the Yugoslav conflict.

Since the beginning of the crisis in former Yugoslavia, the European Community has played a leading role in the search for a negotiated settlement to the complex and tragic problems of the Yugoslav region. Initially, these efforts were channelled through the EC Peace Conference. Since August 1992, our efforts have been directed through the International Conference on Former Yugoslavia, which is co-chaired by the EC and the UN, on the basis of the principles agreed by all parties at the inaugural meeting of the Conference in London.

Ireland is a member of the International Conference, and is playing its part fully in the formulation of EC policy on former Yugoslavia, and in efforts at the United Nations and within the framework of the CSCE to end the conflict.

Ireland participated actively in the discussions on former Yugoslavia at the meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen on 21-22 June and the elaboration of the Declaration adopted by [1119] the European Council which set out the views of the European Community and its member states on the grave situation in the region.

This Declaration expressed full confidence in the Co-Chairmen of the Steering Committee of the International Conference, David Owen and Thorvald Stoltenberg, and encouraged them to pursue their efforts to promote a fair and viable settlement, acceptable to all three constituent peoples of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

The European Council reaffirmed its conviction that such a settlement must be based on the principles of the London Conference and that a territorial solution dictated by the Serbs and Croats at the expense of the Muslims, would not be acceptable. The Council also confirmed that sanctions would remain in place and would be tightened until the conditions for their lifting had been met.

Some 23,500 UN peacekeeping troops and related civilian personnel are now deployed in former Yugoslavia. These include over 12,000 from the member states of the European Community. The Secretary General is making arrangements for the deployment of a further 7,600 personnel to deter aggression against the towns which have been designated as safe areas and to ensure that these receive urgently needed humanitarian aid. Ireland particularly welcomes the emphasis placed by the European Council on the need for speedy implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on safe areas.

The Government believe that the policy and approach taken by the European Community as outlined above provides the best hope for a resolution of the Yugoslav conflict. An attempt to impose a military solution would jeopardise the humanitarian effort, could involve a high degree of casualties on both sides and would increase the possibility of a wider war in the Balkans.