UK plans for UN reserve army
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Saturday 26 June 1999
The move was announced at a meeting in London yesterday between the Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, George Robertson the Defence Secretary and Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General.
Under the agreement, Britain will be putting up to 8,000 men on permanent standby for the UN. They will be front-line, rapid-reaction forces, backed by aircraft and communications, engineering and command-and-control units.
The two British ministers underlined that Britain retained the right to refuse to take part in particular operations, and that the force would not be part of a permanent army under United Nations control.
In future a peacekeeping operation will be able to be mounted far more speedily - offering a chance of averting catastrophes like the 1994 Rwanda genocide, where swift and resolute action by a small force might have prevented the deaths of some 800,000 people.
The move is being presented as new evidence of closer Anglo-French defence co-operation, building on the understanding reached at the St Malo summit last December. It is also in line with the conclusions of the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, shifting post-Cold War defence priorities from guarding national security to the development of flexible armed forces, giving Britain the ability to intervene far from its shores.
But Conservatives accused the Government of increasing the burden on Britain's already-overstretched military, while Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman said that Labour would have to increase defence spending.
"The present numbers are inadequate. We've had the peace dividend, and now it's time for some investment," Mr Campbell declared.
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: The photo of a tree that proves the Tories have an image problem
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...