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Nuclear Disarmament: Multilateral Talks

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 30 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What are their plans to reinvigorate multilateral talks on disarmament; and [HL2904]What is their policy towards the establishment of a Five Power Nuclear Forum to discuss nuclear weapons safety, verification, transparency and related matters; and what they would envisage to be the relationship between any such forum and India, Pakistan and other nuclear or potentially nuclear powers. [HL2959]

We are working for the early adaptation of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty.We are pressing for the early conclusion of negotiations on a Protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention and working to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.We are actively considering how best to follow up internationally the initiatives on nuclear disarmament set out in the Strategic Defence Review. We would not rule out the possibility that a forum of all the Nuclear Weapon States could make a constructive contribution to the process of nuclear disarmament. The relationship between such a forum and other states, including India and Pakistan, would be one of the issues to be considered in its establishment.The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) clearly defines Nuclear Weapon States as those which exploded a device before 1967. Only five states come into this category, India and Pakistan are not nuclear weapon states as defined by the NPT and will not therefore be treated as such. We are pressing India and Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.