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Volume 972: debated on Thursday 25 October 1979

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asked the Lord Privy Seal, in application of article IV of the modified Brussels treaty, what steps he has taken to ensure that European armaments co-operation develops along lines which conform to the latest technological requirements and to the defence policy and strategy applied by the members of the Atlantic Alliance.

Her Majesty's Government want to see European armaments co-operation develop in ways which meet the challenges of new technology and the needs of the Alliance. Work in the European programme group—the main focus of European efforts in this area—is closely co-ordinated with work in NATO through NATO's conference of national armaments directors.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is his policy regarding the limitations which should be placed nationally and within Europe on exporters and importers of armaments to prevent the trade in arms stepping up the armaments race, particularly m areas where peace is threatened.

Proposed arms exports are carefully examined, on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant factors. Particular care is taken in considering sales to areas of tension. A policy of restraint by European States alone would not be effective, since it would exclude the major exporters. The Government, however, support efforts to focus attention on this matter in the United Nations.