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Thursday, May 20, 1999 Published at 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK

UK Politics

Hague's war inquiry call dismissed

The inquiry would have looked at whether Nato foresaw the refugee crisis

Prime Minister Tony Blair has rejected a request by the opposition leader for an inquiry into events leading up to Nato's air strikes against Serbia.

Conservative leader William Hague urged an official investigation led by privy councillors in a written question tabled on Tuesday.

He suggested the inquiry should follow the precedent of the committee set up to review the 1982 Falklands War.

Kosovo: Special Report
But in his written response, the prime minister said: "I see no need."

Mr Hague proposed starting the investigation after the conflict in Kosovo had been resolved.

Its purpose would have been "to review the way in which the responsibilities of the government in relation to British policy towards Kosovo were discharged in the period up to the start of Nato action on 24 March".

The question was the first Mr Hague had tabled in writing for the prime minister.

He suggested the focus of the inquiry would have been on the pre-bombing analysis carried out by the United Kingdom and Nato on the effect of taking military action.

This would have determined whether the allies had properly foreseen the refugee exodus, which turned into a flood once the Nato offensive started.

Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington resigned over his department's failure to foresee the Argentine invasion of the islands.

A Conservative Party spokesman said on Tuesday: "We won't know if there have been any failures if we don't have the inquiry."

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