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Western European Union

Volume 115: debated on Thursday 30 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the meeting of the Western European Union Foreign and Defence Ministers in Luxembourg on 27 April.

WEU Ministers at Luxembourg on 27–28 April held a useful exchange of views on subjects of concern to Europe in the security field. Our main focus was on East-West relations and arms control, particularly INF. We discussed the implications for security of Soviet proposals to eliminate intermediate-range systems down to a range of 500 km. Decisions on this question will be taken in the Alliance, but Ministers stressed that western security must continue to be based on an appropriate mix of conventional and nuclear forces which together provide a credible deterrent to aggression. They also agreed that the presence of United States nuclear forces and United States troops in Europe remains indispensible for the security of the whole alliance and that reductions in nuclear weapons would increase the importance of removing the conventional superiority of the Warsaw pact and eliminating chemical weapons. Ministers underlined that a successful outcome of the current East-West negotiations depends on the continued solidarity between Europe and the United States. On other matters, Ministers agreed that work should continue on the development of a set of principles for European security which should be examined at our autumn meeting, with a view to possible publication. Ministers approved further study of the WEU institutional structure, particularly that of the Paris agencies, including the question of possible co-location. They also held an informal exchange of views on the Assembly budget, and on WEU enlargement.A copy of the communiqué of the meeting has been placed in the Library of the House.