Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office responding to the Committee's follow-up questions
to its Report on Weapons of Mass Destruction
If the FCO will update the Committee on the perceived
present missile threat to the USA and to Europe from North Korea;
what progress there has been in confidence building between North
and South Korea, and what assurances have been given by North
Korea on future missile development?
We assess that there is no significant such
threat today. We share US concerns about the future and keep this
issue under close review.
There have been regular official meetings held
between the two Koreas since the June 2000 Summit, including four
rounds of Ministerial-level talks, two rounds of working-level
military talks, and one round of Defence Ministers' talks. These
meetings, reunions of separated family members, visits and co-operation
in cultural and sporting fields, exchanges of periodicals between
the two sides and the reduction of propaganda broadcasts are also
helping to increase the level of understanding between the two
sides. These exchanges are expected to continue and expand.
Negotiations have taken place between North
Korea and the previous US Administration on the North Korean missile
programme, including on assurances on future missile development.
The UK has also sought such assurances in its recent contacts
with the North Koreans. North Korea has declared a current moratorium
on long range missile flight testing.
If the FCO will update the Committee on the perceived
missile threat to the USA and to Europe from (a) Iran and (b)
Libya, and what assurances have been given by each of these countries
on future missile development?
We assess that there is no significant such
threat today from either country to the United States, nor from
Libya to Europe. Again we share US concerns and shall continue
to monitor developments.
Iran is developing the Shahab-3 ballistic missile
and prototypes are already available. Shahab-3's claimed, 1,300
km-range has the potential to reach Cyprus and most of Turkey.
But there is nothing to suggest that Iran has any intent towards
We are not aware that Iran or Libya have given
any assurances on future missile development. Iranian officials
have claimed that Shahab-3 will meet Iran's security needs, and
that the planned Shahab-4 will be a satellite launch vehicle.
Libya denies any involvement in ballistic missile proliferation.
What would need to be done (including the extent
of any physical works) at Fylingdales in order for the facilities
to be upgraded to meet the needs of stage two of National Missile
The provisional plans for a National Missile
Defence system drawn up by the Clinton Administration envisaged
deployment proceeding in two broad phases.
In the first phase, these plans envisaged the
upgrading of a number of existing Early Warning Radars: in the
US, in Greenland, and at RAF Fylingdales. In the case of RAF Fylingdales,
this would involve some changes to the software governing the
operation of the radar, and some related IT hardware changes.
In the second phase, these plans envisaged the
construction of a number of new "X-Band" radars, including
one in North West Europe. US plans notionally referred to most
of these new radars being co-located with the existing Early Warning
Radars mentioned above, including one at RAF Fylingdales.
However, in the wake of President Clinton's
decision not to authorise deployment of a National Missile Defence
system, it is now for the new US Administration to decide how
to proceed. President Bush has made clear his commitment to a
National Missile Defence system. But his Administration has taken
no decisions on the form it might take. It should not be assumed
that their plans will necessarily mirror those developed by the
What progress has been made in gaining UNMOVIC
entry into Iraq?
As UNMOVIC's Executive Chairman Dr Hans Blix
announced in August, UNMOVIC is now ready to begin work in Iraq.
Unfortunately the Iraqis continue to reject SCR 1284 and any contact
with UNMOVIC, despite all efforts to persuade them to engage.
What is the extend and effect of sanctions on
the ground in Iraq?
The arms embargo and the security by the SCR
661 Sanctions Committee of applications for the import of dual-use
items are undoubtedly constraining Iraq's efforts to rebuild WMD.
But Saddam is a determined proliferator, and no country, even
the most determined to uphold SCRs, can guarantee that its export
controls are 100 per cent effective. In addition, we know that
Iraq is rebuilding facilities such as chemical and explosive factories
which have in the past been used for WMD-related purposes. In
the absence of UN inspectors, we cannot be sure that these and
other facilities are not being used for illegal purposes.
What is the view of the Security Council on lifting
sanctions should UNMOVIC be allowed into Iraq?
Under Security Council resolution 1284, the
entry of UNMOVIC and the IAEA into Iraq paves the way for sanctions
suspension and, ultimately, sanctions lift. Six months after they
start work in Iraq, if Iraq has co-operated and addressed the
key remaining disarmament tasks, then the Council can act to suspend
sanctions. The criteria for lifting sanctions remains as set out
in SCR 687.
What assessment has been made of any erosion of
political support for sanctions in the UN, and to what extent
has any erosion been the consequence of current problems in Israel
and the Occupied Territories?
All members of the Security Council remain determined
to see the Council's decisions implemented. Those who declare
a willingness to see sanctions against Iraq lifted make clear
that they see this in the context of implementation of the Security
Council's resolutions, namely that Iraqi compliance with its obligations,
including on disarmament, is a pre-requisite. There is no doubt
that the Iraqi regime has sought to take full propaganda advantage
of the current problems affecting the Middle East Peace Process.
Iraqi military posturing in support of the Palestinians and other
political gestures designed to sway Arab feeling is likely to
have had an impact on popular opinion. But the communique by the
recent summit of Gulf Cooperation Council states reiterates the
need for Iraqi compliance with its obligations under SCRs before
sanctions can be lifted.
What evidence does the FCO have of sanctions-busting
by Iraqparticularly oil smuggling?
The Iraqi regime has persistently sought to
secure illegal revenue, outside the UN's control, by exporting
oil in breach of sanctions. We estimate that Iraq earned over
$1 billion in 2000 through oil-smuggling and manipulation of the
"oil for food" programme. Traditional smuggling routes
include exporting oil across Iraq's land borders, particularly
through Turkey (an estimated 50-100,000 barrels per day). We are
also aware of Iraqi smuggling of oil by ship through the Gulf.
The UK is a major contributor to the Multinational and Interdiction
Force (MIF) which patrols the Gulf to monitor and deter such smugglers.
The presence of the MIF has forced smugglers to use Iranian territorial
waters. We have made representations to the Iranian government
about this and as a result we estimate that by December 2000 exports
through the Gulf fell to an estimated 15,000 barrels per day,
the lowest level since August 1999. There have also been unconfirmed
press reports suggesting that an illegal oil pipeline to Syria
is now operational, reportedly exporting up to 150,000 barrels
per day. We have raised this with the Syrian Government who have
denied that the pipeline is operational. Smuggling of course deprives
the UN's "oil for food" programme of funds to purchase
food, medicine and other humanitarian relief for the Iraqi people.
We therefore seek to monitor it closely, and pursue breaches of
sanctions with the governments concerned and at the UN.
ABM TREATY AND
What appraisal has the FCO made of the United
States' position on the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty and National
Missile Defence in light of the Presidential, House and Senate
We expect that the new US Administration will
wish to pursue the development of a National Missile Defence system.
It is too soon to predict how, and on what timescale, they may
decide to take this forward. Their first step might be to undertake
a comprehensive review of all the technological options available.
We are in touch with the Administration on this issue and look
forward to close consultation with them, both bilaterally and
in NATO, as their thinking evolves.
The Government's response notes that some EU countries
have yet to ratify the Additional Protocols under the IAEA (INFCIRC
540). What is the timetable for ratification for each of those
EU countries that have not done so?
We have made enquiries with our European Partners
and from information given to our Embassies, we understand the
position in those countries that have yet to ratify their Additional
Protocols to be as follows:
Austria: The additional Protocols
are currently with the political parties in Parliament. They are
expected to be considered by a Parliamentary Committee in February
and the ratification process should be completed by April.
France: Ratification has been included
on the Government's programme for this year but no date has been
Denmark: there are still a number
of technical preparations which need to be made but the Government
of Denmark hope to ratify the Protocol this year.
Ireland: The Upper House of Parliament
has ratified the Protocols. They now return to the Lower House
which is expected to pass them in the first quarter of this year.
Italy: Parliament is expected to
debate ratification in February or March and ratification should
take place before the end of the Parliamentary session in May.
Luxembourg: The draft law to enact
ratification was rejected by the State Council and has been returned
to officials for revision. Luxembourg was unable to give a clear
timetable for ratification.
Portugal: The Additional Protocol
was approved by the Portuguese Parliament on 15 December. Before
the formal process is complete, however, an official text has
to be published and signed by the President of the Republic. This
test will then be published in the form of a Decree of Ratification.
This process will take only weeks.
We are still waiting for information from Belgium.
We hope that the Committee will use its contacts
with comparable committees in states which have yet to ratify
their Additional Protocols to encourage them to do so.
The Committee may also wish to be aware that
the IAEA General Conference in September 2000 adopted a resolution
which set out a number of steps designed to encourage Member States
to conclude Additional Protocols. The Director General announced
at the December meeting of the Board of Governors that the Secretariat
has enhanced its action plan for this purpose. The enhanced plan
will strengthen communication, training and assistance to maximise
the use of all Agency resources available to assist Member States
with all legal, technical and administrative aspects relevant
to the conclusion of safeguards agreements and Additional Protocols.
The IAEA has organised, or participated in, a number of national
and regional seminars and workshops, in Thailand, Vietnam and
Belarus. Further such meetings are planned.
The Committee would like to be updated on any
progress made on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty
There is, unfortunately, little to report. The
Conference on Disarmament was unable to agree a Work Programme
for 2000 and as a result there were no negotiations on the FMCT.
We shall fully support the efforts of the new Canadian Chair to
achieve a breakthrough, seeking agreement on a Work Programme
for 2001, including a start to FMCT negotiations.
The Committee would like to be updated on the
Government's financing of projects to assist Russia in dismantling
its chemical weapons capability, and what assistance is being
given by the United States and other nations?
As part of Spending Review 2000, the Government
decided that the Ministry of Defence should spend up to £12
million over the three years of the review period (1 April 200131
March 2004) on high priority chemical demilitarisation and biological
non-proliferation projects in Russia. Preliminary discussions
have taken place about possible options with the Russian Munitions
Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence in
Moscow, and officials visited the sites of planned chemical weapons
destruction facilities at Shchuch'ye and Gorny. No decisions have
yet been taken on specific UK assistance projects. Discussions
have also been held with the US and other donor countries.
The US so far spent some $190 million on assistance
to Russia in helping to dismantle its chemical weapons capability.
This has included work on design of the chemical weapons destruction
facility at Shchuch'ye; proving the technology to be used in the
facility; setting up a central analytical laboratory in Moscow
and assistance with destruction of former chemical weapon production
facilities. A further $88.4 million is available for completing
the design of the Shchuch'ye facility and starting construction.
The US plans to spend a further $600 million to complete the project
at Shchuch'ye, subject to Congressional approval.
We understand that Canada, Italy, Norway and
Sweden have either provided or are considering the provision of
assistance to support the Shchuch'ye project.
Germany has to date committed some DM58 million
for the provision of equipment and services at the chemical weapons
destruction facility at Gorny. Under the EU Joint Action, E5.8
million has also been committed to the Gorny project, and E3 million
has been allocated for environmental monitoring there under the
TACIS project. The Netherlands is currently considering the provision
of assistance at Gorny.
Finland and Sweden have also provided assistance
at the Kambarka chemical weapons storage site.
What progress has been made in encouraging the
final five members of the NSG to sign the Additional Protocol?
We understand the position to be as follows:
Argentina and Brazil: discussions
between the IAEA, Argentina and Brazil on an Additional Protocol
are underway however; the position is complicated because of the
need to negotiate a quadripartite agreement with the Brazilian-Argentine
Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials;
Belarus: negotiations between the
IAEA Secretariat and the Belarus authorities on an Additional
Protocol have started (see also comment above about the regional
conference held in Belarus);
Latvia: the Additional Protocol was
approved by the Board of Governors of the IAEA on 7 December 2000
although as of 12 January 2001, the Additional Protocol had not
South Africa: consultations continue,
the IAEA Secretariat are hopeful that they will be concluded in
the near future.
What are the dates of the Conference on Disarmament
to be held in Geneva to discuss the illicit trade in small arms
and light weapons?
The UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small
Arms and Light Weapons is scheduled to take place in New York
from 9-20 July 2001.
What appraisal has the FCO made on the US timetable
for ratification of the Ottawa Convention following the Presidential,
House and Senate elections in the United States?
We shall in due course be in touch with the
new US administration on various aspects of its approach to the