On Monday (28th November 2016) Mike intervened on The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs statement on Aleppo. Below is a transcript of their exchange:
Mike Gapes MP (Labour/Co-operative, Ilford South): Can the Minister confirm that the action taken in Kosovo did not have a UN Security Council resolution? Many of us called on William Hague, when he was Foreign Secretary in 2011 and 2012, to support no-fly zones similar to the ones John Major had established to protect the Kurds in Iraq. Is it not time for us all to recognise that we have allowed Russia to get into this position because we failed to act, not in 2013, but in 2011 and 2012, when Assad started murdering peaceful protesters? Is it not time to recognise that the UN Security Council is hamstrung and that we need to act, even without a Security Council resolution, to save hundreds of thousands of lives?
Tobias Ellwood MP (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs): Following Rwanda, a new international initiative establishing a duty of care was agreed, under which the international community would not stand by when a leader chose to kill his own people. That agreement was introduced so that comments about acts of genocide and other phrases that came out at the time could no longer be used to justify the hesitancy of the international community to step forward. The hon. Gentleman is suggesting that we bypass certain legal processes to move forward. In Kosovo, we had troops on the ground and we had collective international, regional and local support. In Kurdistan, a UN resolution backed the action taken there. He has raised a profound question. Should we go into a situation to do the right thing, even though we do not have international legal cover because such cover has been vetoed by a P5 member at every opportunity?