|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
The Secretary of State for Health (Dr. John Reid): Derek Wanless has today published his report, "Securing Good Health for the Whole Population", which has been commissioned jointly by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and me. Copies have been placed in the Library.
The report makes recommendations to the Government on implementing cost-effective approaches to improving population health, prevention and reducing health inequalities, and advises on whether current action is consistent with the fully engaged scenario which was outlined in the first Wanless Report, "Securing Our Future Health: Taking A Long-Term View" (2002).
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Jack Straw): Over the past year, there have been some significant breakthroughs in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The United Kingdom has worked effectively with the United States in the case of Libya's programmes and in countering AQ Khan's network. We have played a leading role, with France and Germany, on the issue of Iran's nuclear programme. We have enforced UN Security Council Resolutions on Iraq. We have been active on the proliferation security initiative designed to interdict the passage of cargoes intended for use in WMD programmes. We support the six party talks in North Korea. All of this demonstrates effective multilateralism in action.
I would like to set out for the House other steps we are taking and further proposals we will be discussing with our partners to deter, check and roll back WMD programmes in countries of concern, and to prevent WMD equipment and expertise falling into the hands of terrorists.
25 Feb 2004 : Column 47WS
Proliferation security initiative
The proliferation security initiative has developed well since it was launched in May 2003. Some 60 countries have indicated their support for it and their intention to apply its principles. There is more that we can do to extend its possibilities:
Eighteen months ago, the Knaskis G8 Summit established a Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. Under this initiative G8 leaders decided to support specific cooperation projects, initially in Russia, to assist the destruction of chemical weapons, the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines, the disposition of fissile materials and the employment of former weapons scientists. The United Kingdom announced that it would make up to $750 million available over 10 years for this work. The first report of work undertaken by the UK was published in December.
Since Knaskis, we have had the Iraq conflict and Libya's decision to dismantle its WMD programmes. Work is under way to develop a programme for the employment of former weapons scientists in Iraq. The UK has offered to help with a similar programme in Libya. We would like to see the Global Partnership expanded so that it is fully global in its geographical extent, and for the number of donor states to be expanded so that the target of $20 billion can become a floor rather than a ceiling.
25 Feb 2004 : Column 48WS
The United Nations and Counter Proliferation
An anomaly in the field of counter proliferation has been the lack of discussion since 1992 of proliferation in an overall sense by the UN Security Council. Following a proposal by President Bush last September, work is now under way on a resolution which will call on states to adopt tough national legislation to criminalise the possession, manufacture or trafficking of WMD, in particular for terrorist purposes; to develop effective export controls where these do not exist; and to maintain effective physical protection of sensitive materials. I hope the Council will pass this soon.
We also believe that the Council should also consider establishing an appropriate follow-up mechanism, perhaps a counter proliferation committee, just as the Council's Counter Terrorism Committee was established in 2001.
The European Security Strategy, adopted by the European Council in December, highlights the importance of work against WMD. The month before its adoption, the EU agreed that agreements with other countries should include a non-proliferation clause. We are working with our EU partners and the Commission to see this introduced as new agreements arise or existing ones are renewed.
The non proliferation treaty obliges states party to enter into safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify that nuclear activities are and remain legitimate. Article IV of the treaty confirms states' rights to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
But states which fail to comply with their safeguards obligations inevitably lose the confidence of the international community. The bargain which is at the heart of the treaty is then called into question. We should consider whether such states should not forfeit the right to develop the nuclear fuel cycle, particularly the enrichment and reprocessing capabilities which are of such proliferation sensitivity. That does not mean that they would be deprived of the possibility of constructing and running civil nuclear power stations. These could still operate with fuel supplied by countries honouring their safeguards obligations. The fuel would be subject to agency monitoring while in the receiving country, and would be returned to the country of supply when spent. This would prevent a seemingly civil programme masking a weapons programme.
Experience in recent years has shown the need for more wide-ranging agency inspections of national nuclear industries. The agency's additional protocol provides the basis for carrying out such inspections. It is important that all members of the international community adopt one. Suppliers of nuclear technology should increasingly see this as a key commitment when they judge export licence applications.
25 Feb 2004 : Column 49WS
within the same resources. We may need seriously to consider further strengthening of its Safeguards Division.
The Government set out in a Green Paper in April 2002 ideas on how to verify compliance with the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention. We continue to believe that we need a mechanism, possibly under the authority of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for investigating instances of alleged use and suspect biological weapons facilities. We will be putting forward proposals to follow this up at the next meeting of states party of the Convention in Geneva in July.
Countering proliferation remains as important today as it ever was. The part our intelligence services play in it is vital. We and they can be proud of what we have achieved over the past year. But we cannot let up. There is much work still to do. The proposals I have outlined are designed to assist that.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Bill Rammell): Subject to Parliamentary approval of any necessary supplementary estimate, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Departmental expenditure limit (DEL) will be increased by £60,035,000 from £1,708,768,000 to £1,768,784,000 and the administration costs limit will be increased by £34,778,000 from £795,600,000 to £830,378,000.
25 Feb 2004 : Column 50WS
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|