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Thursday, August 26, 1999 Published at 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK

UK Politics

Ex-Nato chief criticises Kosovo campaign

Nato strikes made things worse, says the former foreign secretary

Nato strikes on Serbia caused, rather than prevented, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, says Nato's former Secretary-General and former UK Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington.

Kosovo: Special Report
In an interview in the September issue of the lifestyle magazine Saga, Peter Carrington also questions the branding of the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic as a war criminal.

"I think what Nato did by bombing Serbia actually precipitated the exodus of the Kosovo Albanians into Macedonia and Montenegro," he told the magazine, published by the over-50s holiday club Saga.

[ image: Lord Carrington: Resigned over failure to foresee Argentine invasion of Falklands]
Lord Carrington: Resigned over failure to foresee Argentine invasion of Falklands
Lord Carrington, who was foreign secretary from 1979 to 1982 and Nato secretary-general from 1984 to 1988, was critical of the alliance during Nato's bombing campaign.

In an article in The Daily Telegraph in March, he argued that air strikes would serve mainly to harden Serbian resolve and undermine the integrity of Nato. He said that often, the wisest course is to do nothing.

The BBC's James Robbins: "Carrington is openly accussing Nato governments of creating the mass exodus of Kosovo refugees"
But in the Saga interview, published on Friday, Lord Carrington openly accuses Nato governments of creating the mass exodus of Kosovo Albanians.

"I think the bombing did cause the ethnic cleansing. What we did made things very much worse. I think it is a great mistake to intervene in a civil war," he said.

He also says he is not standing up for the Serbs, who "behaved badly and extremely stupidly" by removing Kosovo's autonomy.

Resigned over Falklands

"The whole business in the Balkans had been mismanaged from the start," he said. "It was obvious it was going to blow up."

The 80-year-old former politician was foreign secretary during the Falklands War and resigned over his department's failure to foresee the Argentine invasion of the islands.

Lord Carrington also criticised Britain for being "a little bit selective" about its condemnation of ethnic cleansing, in Africa as well as in Europe.

"I don't thing he [President Milosevic] is any more a war criminal than President Tudjman of Croatia, who ethnically cleansed 200,000 Serbs out of Krajina. Nobody kicked up a fuss about that," he said.

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