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Defence Attachés

Volume 596: debated on Wednesday 3 February 1999

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asked Her Majesty's Government:How many days in 1998 the British Defence Attaché to Finland and Estonia spent on duty in Helsinki and Tallinn respectively; and whether he is able to fill both appointments to the complete satisfaction of the United Kingdom, Finland and Estonia. [HL694]

The British Defence Attaché to Finland and Estonia spent 61 days in Estonia in 1998, supplemented by a further 36 days spent in Estonia by his support staff. Other than 25 days in the UK on duty, he spent the remainder of the year in Helsinki. Her Majesty's Government is satisfied that the Defence Attaché has satisfactorily fulfilled both appointments and made a significant contribution to developing our bilateral defence relationships with both Finland and Estonia.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they have decided against sending a Defence Attaché to Estonia, whose sole duties will be connected with Estonia; and whether they will reconsider the decision; and [HL695]Whether they will appoint a Defence Attaché to the British Embassies accredited to every European nation that has applied to join NATO. [HL696]

We are currently reviewing the worldwide distribution of attachés in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. No decision has yet been taken. I shall write to the noble Earl when the review is complete.