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Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects agreement to be reached with the Antarctic Treaty nations on the future of the secretariat; and if he will make a statement. [113204]

The establishment of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat will next be discussed by Treaty Parties, including the UK, at the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Madrid, 9–20 June. Progress was made on a suite of texts relating to the Secretariat at a recent informal meeting in Buenos Aires amongst Treaty Parties. It is hoped that these texts, to be presented in Madrid, may form the basis of agreement on the Secretariat.