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news 17 Aug 15

UK Labour Frontrunner Queried on Kosovo Motion

Likely leader of opposition party in Britain faces questions from critics over ‘fraudulent genocide’ remarks.

Marcus Tanner
  Jeremy Corbyn I Photo by Garry Knight, Creative Commons  

The man widely tipped to become next leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party is facing queries about his views on Kosovo among other foreign policy issues.

Leftwing firebrand Jeremy Corbyn has already faced criticism over his use of the word “friends” to describe Hamas and Hezbollah, and over his ardent support of the Palestinian cause in general and equal enthusiasm for the regime in Venezuela.

More recently, critical bloggers and journalists have taken him to task for having once apparently dismissed Serbian war crimes in Kosovo as a fabrication.

Back in 2004, Corbyn, MP for a constituency in Islington in north London, signed a parliamentary motion that praised an article by leftist journalist John Pilger “reminding readers of the devastating human cost of the so-termed ‘humanitarian’ invasion of Kosovo, led by NATO and the United States in the Spring of 1999, without any sanction of the United Nations Security Council [and] congratulates John Pilger on his expose of the fraudulent justifications for intervening in a ‘genocide’ that never really existed in Kosovo”.

Corbyn has moved into the lead to take over the Labour Party, riding a wave of disillusion among party activists with so-called establishment candidates and a feeling of bitterness about two successive general election defeats.

The 66-year-old has energized the party base with calls for an abandonment of austerity politics, a return to traditional Socialist orthodoxy on the economy and - in foreign - policy, a break with Labour’s almost unconditional support for the US.

Unlike centrist Labourites - who strongly backed NATO intervention in Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing by Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in Belgrade - the left of the party mostly opposed Western military action, some subscribing to the view that Milosevic was the victim of a US imperialistic plot.

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