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Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what negotiations on nuclear disarmament, pursuant to United Kingdom commitments under the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty article VI provisions, currently involve the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The focus of nuclear arms control negotiations remains on the arsenals of the United States and Russia. We welcome the prospect of further reductions in their nuclear arsenals. Consistent with our nuclear non-proliferation treaty obligations, we are willing to consider involvement in strategic arms control negotiations when the time is right. But our deterrent force is a minimum only, and not comparable to those of the United States and Russia. President Yeltsin has accepted this position. We have, however, already announced substantial reductions in our sub-strategic nuclear capability, including ending our role in the deployment of the Lance missile and nuclear artillery in Europe, the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from Royal Navy ships in normal circumstances, and a reduction of about 50 per cent. in the number of our free-fall nuclear bombs.