Britain's Maastricht Debate Moves to House of Lords
BRITISH foes of the Maastricht Treaty on European integration intend to put their campaign against it onto a permanent footing, regardless of whether it is ratified by Parliament, reports correspondent Alexander MacLeod from London.
The strategy of long-term opposition to the treaty on European integration will be spearheaded by Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister's close associates confirmed June 8.
Anti-Maastricht members of Parliament revealed their plans after Lady Thatcher told the upper chamber in a fiery speech that the treaty was "a blueprint for a superstate" and, in a jab at her successor, John Major, declared: "I personally could never have signed this treaty."
She went on to demand a national referendum on integration with Europe. "No elector in this country has been able to vote against Maastricht," Thatcher said. "It is disgraceful if we deny them that opportunity."
Thatcher was speaking at the beginning of a two-day debate to which 130 members of the House of Lords (an unusually high number) were expected to contribute.
The House of Lords seldom votes to overturn policy that has been determined in the lower chamber, but constitutionally it is able to do so. A reversal of policy forced on the government by the upper chamber would be a severe embarrassment to Mr. Major.
Even if Maastricht were approved, its dissenters have vowed to continue their attacks on EC policy, said Euroskeptic parliamentarian Sir Teddy Taylor.
The rebels' future strategy would consist of attacks on EC rules whenever they impinged on Britain's political sovereignty, a source close to Thatcher said. Croat-Muslim Clashes
CROAT and Muslim-led forces of the Muslim government of Bosnia-Herzegovina fought fierce battles south of Travnik June 8 after the troops won control of the strategic central Bosnian town, the Associated Press reported.
Thousands of Croats fled the fighting, even seeking refuge with the Bosnian Serbs who have been battling both Bosnian Croats and Muslims, UN officials said.
British UN peacekeepers in the area could not confirm Croatian reports of hundreds of deaths in the battle of Travnik, and were unable either to evacuate wounded or dead or get medical supplies into the town.
Col. Alastair Duncan, commander of the British peacekeepers, said he believed the Bosnian government forces were making a push to secure route for their troops.
Scores of bedraggled Bosnian Croat troops and civilians were reported moving toward Vitez from Novi Travnik, where the Croats abandoned a strategic crossroads.
Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban, in a letter to Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and international mediators, charged that 350 Croats were held in Travnik "in some kind of camp, exposed to every torture, massacre an shooting."
"The Croatian population in that area is in danger of total destruction," the letter said.
Thousands of Croats fled weekend battles in Travnik and crossed Bosnian Serb lines on Mount Vlasic just north of the town, according to UN and Croat officials and media reports.