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Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK

UK Politics

No compromise on Kosovo - Blair

Nato would stop "ethnic cleansing", Tony Blair promised

Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic must accept Nato's terms in full before air strikes can be stopped, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has insisted.

The prime minister used an award ceremony in Germany, where he received the Charlemagne prize for European achievement, to restate his determination to force President Milosevic to back down.

Kosovo: Special Report
"There are no half-measures to his brutality. There can be no half measures about how we deal with it," Mr Blair said.

After the 50th night of bombing, the prime minister gave no indication a diplomatic settlement could be near.

Tony Blair: "With every day that passes, Nato's resolve is strengthened"
He blamed President Milosevic for forcing Nato into conflict and offering only "half-baked deals" to try to end it.

"We all tried hard to avoid this war. But even when he was talking peace, Milosevic was planning war," Mr Blair told his audience.

"He was determined to wipe a people from the face of his country. We are determined to stop him - and we will.

"With every day that passes, Nato's resolve is strengthened. With every ploy that Milosevic tries, our determination to defeat him is deepened."

Peace 'close' in N Ireland

Mr Blair won the Charlemagne Prize for European achievement "in recognition of his personal commitment to peace in Northern Ireland" and his work for the EU.

[ image: Henry Kissinger is one of the previous winners]
Henry Kissinger is one of the previous winners
The official criteria for the prize is that it should go to a leader who has fostered mutual understanding among European peoples.

It has previously gone to other European leaders noted for their commitment to achieving post-war harmony on the continent.

Previous winners have included Jean Monet, Winston Churchill, George Marshall - of Marshall Plan fame, who drew up a rescue scheme for post-war Europe - Henry Kissinger, Sir Edward Heath and Lord Jenkins.

In his speech, Mr Blair said "peace is so close" in Northern Ireland.

He promised to return to seeking a breakthrough in the stalled Northern Ireland peace process "the moment I return to London".

The prime minister is expected back in Britain later on Thursday and new peace talks are expected the next day.

British 'ambivalence' on Europe

Addressing the subject of the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union, Mr Blair said he had to change perceptions.

"Britain must overcome its ambivalence over Europe. Then our creativity and our practical common sense can be accepted as the contribution of a partner not an outsider."

Europe's defence capability "is nowhere near sufficient", he said, but dismissed suggestions that the EU could control national armies.

"No nation will ever yield up its sovereign right to determine the use of its own armed forces," he said.

"We do, however, need to see how we can co-operate better, complement each other's capability, have the full range of defence options open to us.

"This also means greater integration in the defence industry and procurement. If we were in any doubts about this before, Kosovo should have removed them."

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