Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Second Report


1.    We conclude that the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council is an important development in the work of the United Nations and in the war against terrorism. We recommend that the Government ensure that the Counter-Terrorism Committee receives whatever support it may require in order for it to be effective in its work of holding states to account for their compliance with the terms of UN Security Council Resolutions on terrorism (paragraph 35).

2.    We note with satisfaction the deservedly very high reputation of the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations and its excellent working relationship with the Missions of other countries, notably that of the United States. We recommend that the Government ensure that the provision of human, financial and other resources appropriate to the vital role of the Mission continues to be given the highest priority (paragraph 37).

3.    We were presented with a strong case for the emerging US proposals on missile defence. We recommend that these proposals are most carefully considered by the Government and that it should have due regard for the concerns expressed in the United Kingdom and among our European partners before coming to a final decision on any definitive proposals (paragraph 66).

4.    While it is certainly possible that China may expand its nuclear capability in any event, we recommend that the Government use its influence with the US to ensure that the effects of any missile defence programme on China and on other nuclear powers are carefully assessed (paragraph 72).

5.    We recommend that the Government seek to ensure that if either party to the ABM Treaty exercises its right to withdraw, the United States and Russia establish an alternative mutually satisfactory and legally binding agreement on the development of missile defence systems, which might include other states (paragraph 74).

6.    We note the importance of ensuring a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing, and believe that unilateral cuts in the US nuclear arsenal do not substitute for the establishment and maintenance of global non-proliferation agreements. We recommend that the Government renew its efforts to press the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (paragraph 85).

7.    The Committee supports the Government in its determination to review the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty is currently 'leaking', and we recommend that the Government works in the closest conjunction with the US Administration to devise further specific and effective measures to enforce this crucial arms control agreement. The Committee expects to receive from the Government details of such measures (paragraph 90).

9.    We conclude that the only way to establish whether states are developing biological and toxin weapons is to establish a mandatory, on the ground challenge inspection system to verify compliance to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. We recommend that the Government work with the US and other allies to agree such a verification regime, by which states' compliance with the BTWC can be established (paragraph 99).

10.  In view of the US Administration's proposal to cut the Department of Energy's funding for Co-operative Threat Reduction programmes, we recommend that the Government continues to stress to the US the utmost importance it attaches to such programmes and reports to the Committee on progress to establish an international financing plan for them (paragraph 103).

11.  We recommend that the FCO continues to maintain close scrutiny of the arms control implications of the militarisation of outer space (paragraph 107).

12.  We conclude that the argument that UN efforts to control small arms has been influenced by those seeking to change US domestic gun policy is unconvincing. We recommend that the Government urge the US to support fully the UN Programme of Action on preventing the flow of small arms to developing countries. We fully support the Government's efforts to tighten the supply of arms to non-state parties (paragraph 111).

13.  We recommend that the Government work with the United States for a responsible approach to strengthening the police and security forces of Central and South Asian states affected by the campaign against terrorism (paragraph 113).

14.  We recommend that the Government continue in its efforts to encourage the United States to ratify the Ottawa Convention, and to phase out the use of anti-personnel land mines before 2006 (paragraph 118).

15.  We recommend that the Government highlight to the US Government the value and importance of securing legally-binding multilateral agreements to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We welcome efforts made by the Government to curb the flow of small arms to developing countries through the UN system, and to ban the use of anti-personnel land mines, and endorse its efforts to persuade the US to support such initiatives (paragraph 121).

16.  We recommend that the Government continue its dialogue with the US Administration on the Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (paragraph 128).

17.  We recognise the value that NATO has provided to British security as both a military and political institution over the past fifty years. We support the Government's efforts to work with the US and Russia to ensure that the Alliance evolves to reflect the new security environment. We recommend that the Government ensure, in its policies towards NATO, that the Alliance's cohesion and effectiveness as a military organisation with full US engagement is maintained (paragraph 141).

18.  We recommend that during the ongoing war against terrorism, the Government act to avoid any loss of momentum for reconstruction in the Balkans, by working for the continued full involvement and active participation of the United States in the region (paragraph 158).

19.  We recommend that the Government lend its full support to renewed efforts by the United States to achieve success in the Middle East peace process on the basis of the Mitchell Committee proposals, by bringing pressure to bear on the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority and by standing ready to contribute towards such diplomatic, practical and economic assistance as may be required (paragraph 166).

20.  We conclude that the Government's and European Union's policies of constructive engagement with Iran deserve full support. We recommend that the Government should continue to be bold in developing these contacts, extending them as appropriate to other countries in the Middle East, in the interests of long-term peace and stability in the region, and that it should seek to persuade the United States of their value. At the same time, the problems and pressures faced by countries with which the United Kingdom and the United States already have friendly relations must not be downplayed or underestimated (paragraph 170).

21.  We recommend that the Government ensure that the United States is fully seized of the importance of achieving a solution to the Kashmir problem, and of the need for it to use its influence to help bring about such a solution (paragraph 174).

22.  We recommend that BBC World Service consider broadcasting to the United States in languages other than English, especially in Spanish and Arabic (paragraph 178).

23.  We recommend that the Government, with the United States Government, do all it can to resolve outstanding trade issues between our countries, and to encourage US citizens not to be deterred from travelling to the United Kingdom for their vacations (paragraph 190).

24.  We recommend that, when assessing the value of the diplomatic estate to United Kingdom taxpayers, the FCO and Treasury ensure that the 'diplomatic balance sheet' of the contribution made by properties to promoting the United Kingdom's interests is regarded as being no less important than the financial balance sheet (paragraph 196).

25.  We commend the performance of the British Embassy in Washington, and express our appreciation of the excellent work done by its staff at every level (paragraph 199).

26.  We congratulate the entire staff of the Consulate-General and other posts in New York for their exemplary action on behalf of British victims of the attack on the World Trade Center, and on the consistently high standard of their representation of British interests (paragraph 202).

27.  We sensed in New York and Washington, if we did not know it already, that now is an extraordinary time in British-US relations. The United Kingdom and the United States are working as closely together as they have ever done. Indeed, on 11 September the immediate outpouring of sympathy by the British people and the immediate expressions of solidarity and practical co-operation by the British Government had a remarkable and positive effect on US public and official opinion. Neither side pretends that there are no differences between them, but both sides know that the relationship is sufficiently mature and enduring to accommodate them. The foundations of British-US relations are broad, deep and substantial (paragraph 203).

28.  This country's status as a leading member of the European Union adds to rather than detracts from its role as the premier ally of the United States. The United Kingdom is in a position to represent the United States to Europe, and Europe to the United States. Because of its historical experience, and particularly through its Commonwealth links, it offers the United States a depth of knowledge of parts of the globe where America has not traditionally met with understanding. The excellent working relationship at the United Nations is evidence, if needed, of the two countries' closeness (paragraph 204).

29.  The response of the British Government to September 11 has demonstrated once again that the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States remains special. It is the firm view of the Foreign Affairs Committee that it is in the interests of both countries that it remains so (paragraph 205).

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Prepared 18 December 2001