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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the United Nations Security Council has agreed the scope of sanctions to be applied to any state withdrawing its membership of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (93600)

The basis for the Security Council’s use of sanctions is to give effect to its decisions where it has determined the existence of a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, consistent with Chapter VII of the Charter of the UN. The Security Council does not have a pre-agreed formulation for the scope of sanctions to be applied to a state withdrawing its membership of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Where the council has imposed sanctions in the past, the scope of such measures has been based on the specific situation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of North Korea’s first nuclear test on nuclear proliferation, with particular reference to Syria and Iran. (93888)

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told the House on 10 October, North Korea’s nuclear test jeopardises regional stability in North East Asia and poses a clear threat to international peace and security, 10 October 2006, Official Report, column 163. It contravenes North Korea’s commitments under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), breaches the North-South Joint Declaration on the Denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and ignores UN Security Council resolution 1695. It also runs counter to the spirit of the September 2005 Declaration to which North Korea has signed up.

Both Syria and Iran are parties to the NPT. We expect them to abide by all their obligations in this area. Iran is currently defying calls by the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and the UN Security Council to suspend all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. These activities would enable it to develop the capability to produce fissile material that could be used in nuclear weapons. North Korea’s test and the international reaction to it, in the form of UN Security Council resolution 1718, is only likely to reinforce international determination that Iran should comply with its obligations.