'TAKING ACTION IS THE ONLY CHANCE FOR JUSTICE IN KOSOVO' - BLAIR
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has broadcast a message to the nation explaining British involvement in NATO's military attacks against Yugoslavia. 'I want to explain why I may have to send our forces into action again and when I do, I want them to go with the whole country united behind them,' Mr Blair said. He explained that the aim of the military strikes is 'crystal clear': to curb President Milosevic's ability to wage war on an innocent civilian population and warned that to do nothing would show 'unpardonable weakness and dereliction' - 'that is not the tradition of Britain,' he said. Mr Blair concluded his address by saying 'we are doing what is right, for Britain, for Europe, for a world that must know that barbarity cannot be allowed to defeat justice.'
MOD REPORT ON SECOND NIGHT OF NATO STRIKES
Defence Secretary George Robertson has reported on the second night of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia at a press conference in London. Mr Robertson said that further serious damage had been inflicted to 'Milosevic's murder machine' during the latest action and warned that 'we are fully prepared to keep going for as long as it takes to achieve our military objectives.' On the question of employing ground troops, he said that NATO had not set itself the task of defeating the Yugoslav Army - rather, 'this is a limited military action with a strictly humanitarian objective and one which we believe we can achieve through air strikes. We do not think that it would be right to escalate this into a major ground invasion in which many lives might be lost and in which the humanitarian crisis might be made worse.'
PRIME MINISTER REPORTS ON BERLIN EU SUMMIT
The Prime Minister Tony Blair has reported on the agreement reached at the EU summit in Berlin. He paid tribute to the German Presidency for achieving the results 'under immensely difficult negotiation'. Outlining the details of the package, Mr Blair said that Community spending will be put far more firmly under control than before, that the UK achieved a 'very good settlement' in the structural funds, and that the British abatement remains intact - a position he described as 'not a euro more, not a euro less.'
AGREEMENT REACHED AT THE BERLIN EU SUMMIT
In an interview for BBC Radio 4, the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has outlined the key achievements of the EU summit in Berlin. He said that agreement had been reached between EU leaders 'that paves the way for enlargement'. Firm discipline and firmer control over spending in agricultural policy had been agreed, Mr Cook said, and in the case of the structural funds, 'major modernisation' had been approved, with Britain 'getting a very good deal out of it.' Mr Cook also confirmed that 'not a single penny' of the existing British rebate had been negotiated away during the negotiations: 'we have secured it, it is stable, it is recognised,' he said.
ROBIN COOK TO ATTEND ASEM MEETING, BERLIN 28-29 MARCH
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook will attend the second Asia-Europe
(ASEM) Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin on 28 and 29 March.
Foreign Ministers will discuss cooperation over a range of issues
including trade and investment, electronic technology, business
dialogue and high level business missions, multi-lateral trade
issues, environment and child welfare.
CHANGE OF AMBASSADOR AT BUCHAREST
Richard Ralph CVO CMG has been appointed Her Majesty's Ambassador
to Romania in succession to Christopher Crabbie CMG who will be
transferring to a new Diplomatic Service appointment. Mr Ralph will take up his new appointment in September.
CHANGE OF AMBASSADOR AT KATHMANDU
Ron Nash LVO has been appointed Her Majesty's Ambassador to the
Kingdom of Nepal in succession to Lloyd Barnaby Smith who will be
transferring to a new Diplomatic Service appointment. Mr Nash will be taking up his new appointment in June.
ADJOURNMENT DEBATE ON BRITISH HOSTAGES IN CHECHNYA
The Hansard transcript of the Adjournment Debate on British Hostages (Chechnya) which took place in the Commons on 25 March is now available on the Parliament website. FCO Minister of State Tony Lloyd outlined the continuing efforts of the Foreign Office to obtain a report from the Chechen authorities on their investigation into the deaths last December of four kidnap victims abducted in Grozny on 3 October. He also repeated to the House the principles that govern the Government's response to hostage cases overseas.
In addition to their regular official business, FCO Ministers have
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