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Sunday, May 23, 1999 Published at 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK

UK Politics

Short: No going soft on fascism

Nato wants refugees home before the harsh Balkan winter sets in

UK International Development Minister Clare Short says the West must remain "steady" in its determination to defeat Serbia's "fascist regime".

Kosovo: Special Report
The minister, who has a reputation for being outspoken, also took a swipe at BBC journalist John Simpson.

Ms Short criticised the "doom and gloom" merchants who had criticised the air campaign from the start.

She said: "The truth is this is a war. Wars are vile.

Clare Short: "This is an evil, monstrous regime...but this evil will be reversed"
"It's against an evil, monstrous regime that has caused a terrible war and displacement, raping and killing people in Bosnia. Now it is doing it again.

'We will succeed'

"This evil will be reversed. We will succeed, the sooner the better.

"But we will do what is necessary. It will be done and we will look after people and get them home."

Ms Short made comparisons with World War II and suggested the war was being undermined by bleeding heart liberals.

She said: "Say we had had John Simpson [then]. 'And now today Hitler said...and this bomb we dropped on Dresden went to the wrong place'."

Ms Short said: "Please everyone think what is at stake here.

"This is fascism back in Europe. It is deliberate ethnic cleansing. It is trying to destroy a people because of their religion and ethnicity.

'Challenge for our generation'

"This is a challenger for our generation. We must do what is right otherwise evil will triumph, Europe will have fascism back in it and all the instabilities that will lead to increasing conflict.

[ image: Clare Short urged people not to go soft on fascism]
Clare Short urged people not to go soft on fascism
"Please be steady everyone. We've got to do what is right and we will do it," she said.

Ms Short said as many as 1.6 million of Kosovo's population of 1.8 million were now believed to be either refugees outside Yugoslavia or hiding in the mountains of Kosovo.

She said it could take years for all the refugees to go home and for their villages to be rebuilt.

[ image: The Nato campaign has failed to remove Serbian troops from Kosovo]
The Nato campaign has failed to remove Serbian troops from Kosovo
"There will be a process of return and making things safe, a stage where we have to get food, water, plastic sheeting. The whole process will take some years but it will start very quickly."

Kosovo diaspora

Ms Short said there were 250,000 refugees outside Kosovo before the Nato bombing campaign started, and 750,000 had joined them since.

She said of those hiding within Kosovo: "No-one knows for sure but it's probably 500,000 - 600,000. There's hardly any Kosovar people living in their own homes.

"A whole people have either been thrown out of their country or are hiding within it."

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