Saturday, August 21, 1999 Published at 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Labour attacks Kosovo 'slur'
A woman faints during the reburial of 54 Kosovo Albanians on Friday
The government has rejected Conservative claims that the lives of UK soldiers serving in Kosovo are being put at risk because the Nato peacekeeping force is under-strength.
Shadow Defence Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith said the situation has been exacerbated by a shortfall in Nato's peacekeeping forces, and called on the government to make an urgent statement.
Mr Spellar said he had been to Kosovo to find out the facts for himself.
"I have seen for myself the situation in Kosovo," he said. "I have talked to senior commanders and our troops on the streets."
"Our armed forces have the government's full support in their vital task," he added.
He also said that although conditions for the troops were tough a few weeks ago, the level of intimidation and murders had been reduced.
Mr Duncan-Smith argued that the shortfall in Nato peacekeeping forces was between 15,000 and 25,000.
He said: "If ethnic cleansing continues apace, the British troops could be facing a Northern Ireland-type situation."
Later this month recruiting will begin for a 4,000-strong multi-ethnic Kosovo police force with officers from Europe and the US providing training and support.
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