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The UK has also co-sponsored and participated in the first regional seminar on promoting 1540 implementation, which took place in Buenos Aires in
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September 2005. Further seminars have been organised and UK participation, whether direct, through EU sponsorship, or both, remains a priority.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, as international and regional organisations, were mentioned in preambular paragraph 10 of the resolution. This recognised the need for these organisations to enhance co-ordination in response to the serious challenges and threats to international security posed by weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The UK supports such complementary efforts to promote effective implementation.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the section of the Queen’s Speech on strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), what her assessment is of the possible effects of NATO’s (a) nuclear sharing policy and (b) nuclear first-use policy on the proliferation of nuclear weapons; and if she will make a statement. [102567]

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Mr. Hoon: NATO nuclear policy is well-established. The fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear forces is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion. Since the height of the cold war NATO has reduced the number of sub-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe by over 95 per cent. The remaining US nuclear weapons based in Europe are in the sole possession, and under constant and complete custody and control, of the United States. These arrangements for basing US nuclear weapons in Europe are fully compatible with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

NATO does not follow either a nuclear first-use or no-first-use policy. As the nature and scope of potential conflicts cannot be predicted, the Alliance does not pre-determine how it would react to military aggression. It leaves this question open and in so doing ensures uncertainty in the mind of any potential aggressor about the nature of the allies’ response.

There is no evidence to suggest that either aspect of NATO nuclear policy provides a motivating factor in the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

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