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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the previous draft UN Nuclear Weapons Convention; if she will make it her policy to sponsor a UN resolution adopting the Nuclear Weapons Convention as a binding treaty for nuclear disarmament; and if she will make a statement. (102568)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Kim Howells, gave to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey) on 9 May 2006, Official Report, column 183W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department (a) has taken and (b) is planning to take in the next 12 months to implement Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and if she will make a statement. (102569)

The UK has undertaken many important steps in fulfilling its disarmament obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Since the end of the Cold War we have reduced the total explosive power of our nuclear forces by over 70 per cent. and we are the only nuclear weapon state to have reduced its deterrent capacity to a single nuclear weapons system, Trident.

We continue to press for multilateral negotiations towards both nuclear, and general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, as required by Article VI of the NPT. On nuclear disarmament our current priority is to push for negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, without pre-conditions, at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, which we view as the next appropriate step towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament. On the conventional side, we remain committed to building support for a legally binding treaty on the trade in all conventional arms. The adoption on 26 October of a UN General Assembly First Committee resolution to set up a UN process, backed by a strong majority of states, is a major step forward. We will continue to work with international partners to turn this beginning into a treaty that will make a real difference.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her assessment is of the possible effects of NATO’s (a) nuclear-sharing policy and (b) nuclear first-use policy on the proliferation of nuclear weapons; and if she will make a statement. (103070)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) today (UIN 102567).