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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Volume 24: debated on Tuesday 25 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the present functions of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and the British sovereign bases in Cyprus in the defence of the southern region of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The United Kingdom contributes in a number of ways to the security of the southern region of NATO. That The allied command Europe mobile force, to which we dedicate certain units, has deployment options to the southern region, as do both the land and air elements of the United Kingdom mobile force. Additionally we normally provide a frigate for NATO's naval on-call force Mediterranean—NAVOCFORMED—when it is activated, and regularly exercise with other NATO navies in the area.Gibraltar's importance to the defence of the southern flank of the alliance lies, firstly, in its strategic position at the entrance to the Mediterranean, and secondly in the naval base and airfield facilities that it can offer to NATO ships and aircraft.The sovereign base areas in Cyprus do not have a NATO role, but the presence and capability which Britain is able to maintain through the SBAs, at a strategically situated point in the Eastern Mediterranean, is clearly a significant element in the security of the region.