Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

2  The Government's approach to non-proliferation

8. The Government's non-proliferation policy addresses two distinct threats. First, there is a threat from states, although the National Security Strategy asserts that "no state currently has both the intent and the capability to pose a direct nuclear threat to the United Kingdom", and that whilst "a number of states retain the ability to produce chemical and biological weapons we do not judge that they currently pose a direct threat to the United Kingdom".[9] Second, the Strategy asserts that terrorists have aspirations to acquire nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological weapons.[10]

9. The National Security Strategy's approach to counter-proliferation comprises four strands, referred to as the 'four D's':

i.  dissuade states from acquiring, developing, and contributing to the spread of WMD, and related materials and expertise;

ii.  detect attempts by states, and terrorists, to develop or acquire this capability;

iii.  deny access to WMD and the necessary materials, equipment, technology, and expertise to develop them, while promoting commerce and technological development for peaceful purposes;

iv.  defend our country, our citizens, our Armed Forces and our strategic interests from the threats posed by proliferation.[11]

10. Work to counter WMD proliferation has consistently been identified as a Government, and specifically an FCO, objective. In the 2004 Spending Review, the FCO was set a Public Service Agreement (PSA) target "to deter, check and roll back programmes for the development of WMD and related delivery systems in countries of concern, and to reduce the supply of, and demand for, such weapons worldwide."[12] According to the 2008 FCO Departmental Annual Report, this was the only FCO PSA target which was "not met".[13] The threat from proliferation was subsequently incorporated into PSA target 30 set by the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, which is to "reduce the impact of conflict through enhanced UK and international efforts".[14] The FCO is the lead department for delivery of this PSA target. Meanwhile, the FCO's new Strategic Framework, announced in February 2008, makes counter-proliferation and counter-terrorism one of the FCO's four policy goals, translating into the Department's Strategic Objective 5, agreed with the Treasury, "to counter terrorism, weapons proliferation and their causes".[15]

11. There are planned increases in the funding from the FCO's Strategic Programme Fund for the strategic objectives set out in the FCO's counter-proliferation and counter-terrorism policy goal, from £300,000 in 2008/2009 to £2 million in 2009/10 and £3 million in 2010/11. These funds are used to finance, among other activities, a series of direct legislative assistance visits to help 30 states to fulfil their obligations under a number of treaties. In addition, the Government is spending £36 million a year through the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction established at the G8 summit at Kananaskis in 2002. This is now part of the Government's Global Threat Reduction Programme, which aims to establish co-operative projects against the diversion of WMD materials, mainly in the former Soviet Union.[16]

12. Whilst overall responsibility for the Government's counter-proliferation strategy rests with the Cabinet Office, a number of Government departments collaborate in this area, including the FCO, Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Home Office, the security and intelligence agencies, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).[17]

13. The National Security Strategy reaffirms the Government's support for a "rules-based approach to international affairs".[18] The FCO told us that it:

    consider[s] that collective action, in international bodies including the UN, the EU, NATO, the IAEA, treaty-specific and export control groups remains the most effective way of managing and reducing the threats and the only prospect of eliminating them completely. A multilateral approach, in particular a rules-based approach led by international institutions, legally-binding and verifiable where possible, brings not only greater effectiveness but also, crucially, greater legitimacy.[19]

We discuss the treaties and multilateral agreements that comprise the 'rules-based approach' in our chapters below which consider particular weapons types, and return to the overall theme in Chapter 8.

The EU

14. In 2003 the European Council agreed a European Security Strategy (ESS) which emphasised "effective multilateralism" through a policy of promoting multilateral treaties and bodies, including those underpinning the non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. This policy has been pursued through a number of Joint Actions, Common Positions, Council Decisions and Action Plans, for example in relation to Iran, India and Pakistan.[20] In December 2008 the European Council endorsed a report by Dr Javier Solana, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, which updated the ESS. The report judged that the risk of WMD proliferation had increased since 2003, and reaffirmed the EU's commitment to non-proliferation objectives.[21] Also in 2003 the EU published a Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction,[22] and Dr Solana appointed Annalisa Giannella, a long-serving EU official, as his Personal Representative for non-proliferation. The FCO told us that:

    On the basis of the EU WMD Strategy, adopted in 2003, the EU has been active and at the forefront of international efforts to address proliferation concerns; is a key donor to multilateral initiatives, including the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund; and by working with third countries and regional organisations makes an important contribution to building national and regional capacities to prevent proliferation.[23]

These strategies have increased the profile of the EU in this area.[24]

15. Daniel Feakes of the Harvard-Sussex Programme on Chemical and Biological Weapons described the positive and negative aspects of an EU common position. Whilst adopting a 'lowest common denominator' approach means that the UK might be restrained if it wanted to take a stronger position, he told us that "the other side is that the 27 states negotiating a position together are already a fairly sizeable number of CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] or BWC [Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention] states parties."[25] Overall he concluded that "the EU is playing a positive role, but it needs to do more, and it needs more financial resources behind it".[26]

16. One way in which the EU acts is to build commitments on arms control into other agreements, via what the FCO referred to as "WMD clauses".[27] Daniel Feakes explained that:

    One thing that the EU has being doing recently is trying to link arms control—these kinds of issue—more to other issues such as trade. The EU holds a very big soft power weapon. It has come up with a non-proliferation clause in its recent agreements with third countries, so that the EU is saying, "We will meet you on trade as long as you do something on arms control".[28]

The role of the US and NATO

17. During the course of our inquiry Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th US President. There has been widespread expectation that his election will be positive for arms control efforts. Nicholas Sims of the LSE told us that:

    the coming-in of the new Administration in the United States gives the UK and other NATO countries an enormous, almost unprecedented opportunity to re-engage the United States in a much more wholehearted, reinvigorated multilateralism in this field, as in others.[29] […] Within the Democrat camp, there have been encouraging signs that the US would be much more engaged in multilateral endeavours generally.[30]

Bill Rammell, Minister of State at the FCO, was similarly confident:

    The prospects for disarmament under President Obama are much greater and stronger than they were under President Bush. How do I adduce that in evidence? You can look, for example, at [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearings, when she talked about the importance of rebuilding staffing and financing the relevant bureaus within the State Department. Obama has made it clear that he wants to ratify, and have negotiations on, the fissile material cut-off treaty. All that I see and hear is very positive and I have belief in President Obama.[31]

There is speculation that a change of attitude in the US might lead other states to alter their positions, with Bill Rammell telling us that when he was recently in Beijing "interesting discussions were taking place and there was a desire to know what the intentions of the Obama Administration were."[32] However, in relation to treaties, as Mr Rammell pointed out:

    There is a caveat: in the American system, you have to get those treaties through the Senate as well. I think that with the degree of support that the President has and the political make-up of the Senate at the moment, the grounds for that are optimistic, but it is not as simple as saying that the President decrees and it happens.[33]

18. In early 2009, President Obama appointed Gary Samore, previously of the Council on Foreign Relations, as coordinator for policy on weapons of mass destruction (including non-proliferation), based in the National Security Council.[34]


19. The FCO highlighted the "significant role" of NATO in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament:

    The NATO summit of Heads of State and Government in Bucharest last year [2008] saw the approval of a paper on 'Raising NATO's profile in the field of arms control, disarmament and non proliferation'. NATO has several groups that meet regularly to discuss non-proliferation and disarmament issues and the Alliance continues to ensure that—as an important part of its broad approach to security—defence and arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation objectives remain in harmony. There has been a 90% reduction in the nuclear forces attributed to NATO since the end of the Cold War and the Alliance seeks to enhance security and stability at the lowest possible level of forces consistent with the ability to provide for collective defence and to fulfil the full range of its missions.[35]

20. Independent analyst Martin Butcher emphasised in written evidence to us that whilst NATO had given significant support to arms control measures during the 1990s, its stance changed dramatically following the election of George W. Bush as US President:

    From this high point in late 2000, NATO's public commitment to threat reduction through multilateral agreement has steadily diminished [...] It appears that NATO has abandoned any attempt at threat reduction through arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, in favour of a purely military response to potential WMD-armed adversaries […] European nations have submitted to the Bush administration's global outlook, and allowed it to become the policy of the entire Alliance. This despite the fact that it is clear that European nations do not share the bleak world view emanating from Washington DC. Both the European Security Strategy and the Strategy Against the Proliferation of WMD adopted by the EU place much more emphasis on multilateral diplomacy to construct security from WMD threats than is now the case for NATO—and yet, because of NATO's consensus rule Europeans have been overridden by the United States.[36]

Mr Butcher believed that the new US Administration would reverse this trend, for example by being "more receptive to reviving NATO's traditional role in arms control and disarmament initiatives." He told us that "The British government is well-placed to take a lead in the Alliance in ensuring a positive outcome in this vital policy area."[37] Dr Dan Plesch of the School of Oriental and African Studies highlighted the role that NATO could play, including in the control of conventional weapons, particularly by supporting an Arms Trade Treaty. However, he noted that "NATO is not a trading organisation; there are limits to what it can do in that respect."[38] Giving evidence on the control of conventional weapons, Roy Isbister of the UK Working Group on Arms questioned whether NATO involvement was positive, explaining that "some states consider [the Alliance], rightly or wrongly, to be actively threatening […] you have to be careful about having NATO in the lead."[39]

Restricting the resources required for proliferation

21. Restricting the availability of the materials, expertise and finance necessary to make and use of all types of weapon is an effective way to help achieve non-proliferation aims.


22. The UK operates a regime of national arms export licensing regulations, based on the commitments which it has made by virtue of its membership of a number of voluntary export control regimes that cover individual weapons types. UK national regulations currently include the Biological Weapons Act 1974, the Chemical Weapons Act 1996, the Export Control Act 2002 and the relevant sections of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.[40] British export controls are the central and ongoing focus of the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC), of which the Foreign Affairs Committee is a member.[41] We therefore do not discuss export controls in detail in this report, but outline the relevant regimes below.

23. Daniel Feakes judged that "enforcement is improving", noting for example that in July 2007, Avocado Research Chemicals was fined £600 plus costs for exports to Egypt in July 2005 of a chemical precursor to VX nerve gas and a chemical used in the production of nuclear control rods.[42] Dual-use items which have legitimate non-military use are particularly difficult to control.

Nuclear weapons (Nuclear Suppliers Group and Zangger Committee)

24. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was created in 1975 following India's first nuclear test in 1974. It has 45 members who co-ordinate their licensing of nuclear exports using two sets of guidelines which list nuclear and dual-use goods that are controlled. The NSG has no budget or staff and has a rotating chair. Annual Consultative Group meetings are held in Vienna at the Permanent Mission of Japan which provides a secretariat.

25. The Zangger Committee (ZC) was formed in 1971 immediately after the NPT came into force. It has 37 members and is chaired by the Czech Republic. It does not operate an export control regime as such, but is a technical group which maintains a trigger list of nuclear-related goods which trigger International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards as a condition of supply. Members report yearly on any items from the list that are transferred to a non-nuclear weapons state that is not party to the NPT. The UK provides the secretariat for the ZC, which the FCO told us incurred minimal expense.[43]

Biological and chemical weapons (Australia Group)

26. The Australia Group was formed in 1985 with the aim of harmonising export controls on materials which could be used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Membership allows the UK to fulfil its obligations under both the Chemical and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Conventions.[44] There are 40 participating states, including all EU members, with the European Commission additionally taking part in proceedings.[45] Russia is not a member but since the collapse of the Soviet Union it has introduced its own export controls with lists of controlled biological and chemical materials.[46] Daniel Feakes told us that:

    A further significant expansion of the Group seems unlikely as its main function is to bring together the world's primary manufacturers, exporters and transshippers of controlled items. There are of course countries in these categories not in the Australia Group (e.g. China and India) but these are members of the Non-Aligned Movement and have been strident critics of the Group since its inception […] The most likely scenario is therefore an incremental geographical expansion in the Group, coupled with more extensive outreach activities to non-participants.[47]

Missiles (Missile Technology Control Regime and Hague Code of Conduct)

27. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), of which the UK is a founder member, is an arrangement between 34 states formed in 1987 with the aim of preventing proliferation of what the FCO termed "unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction".[48] This aim is pursued through co-ordination of national export licensing based on control lists. The regime has no formal budget or staff. Individual members are responsible for its website (Canada) and act as a point of contact (France).[49]

28. The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation is not an export control regime but, the FCO told us, "is intended to supplement" the MTCR.[50] States which subscribe to the Code of Conduct commit to a voluntary set of principles and confidence-building measures aimed at strengthening the effort against ballistic missile proliferation, such as annual declarations on ballistic missile policies and notifications prior to missile launches. As of January 2009, 130 countries had subscribed to the Code. The Hague Code of Conduct does not have a staff or budget, but Austria serves as the central contact country coordinating the relevant information exchange.

Conventional weapons (Wassenaar Arrangement)

29. With 40 participating states, the Wassenaar Arrangement maintains lists of goods to which export controls should apply in the area of conventional weapons. Lists for arms and dual-use goods are maintained separately. States are required to notify each other if they deny an export license. The Wassenaar Arrangement has a small secretariat in Vienna with a total budget for 2009 of £1,524,177, of which the UK is providing £113,549.

30. There are also an expanding number of regional frameworks intended to counter the proliferation of conventional weapons. In 1993 principles governing arms transfers were agreed by the Forum for Security Cooperation of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (later the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE]). In addition, the UK has observed the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports since 1998. The Code provides guidelines for arms exports by EU Member States which are intended to prevent sales of equipment that could be used in human rights abuses or which may obstruct sustainable development. A revised and legally binding version of the EU Code of Conduct was introduced in December 2008.[51] It has been renamed the Rules Governing the Control of Exports of Military Technology and Equipment. There is a strong correspondence between the EU's regulations and the voluntary arrangements that apply under the Wassenaar Arrangement.


31. The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), launched by the US in 2003, aims to combat trafficking of WMD materials by committing its members to a Statement of Interdiction Principles aimed at disrupting or preventing the transfer of materials and weapons, as well as their delivery systems. The PSI is not treaty-based, nor does it have a secretariat or collect subscriptions. Instead, the FCO told us that "nations meet in a number of formats and take part in an exercise programme intended to test national capabilities and decision-making structures. PSI is best characterised as an activity rather than an organisation and remains an open and flexible mechanism."[52] The FCO told us that "the UK plays an active role in PSI, hosting and participating in exercises, outreach events and meetings of the Operational Experts Group, the PSI 'steering committee'", but it noted that key states remain outside the initiative, such as China and Malaysia, although South Korea announced its full participation in May 2009, following North Korea's latest nuclear test.[53] In response to South Korea's decision to participate in the PSI, North Korea threatened military action if any of its ships were stopped, and said that it no longer regarded itself as bound by the 1953 armistice which ended the Korean War.[54]

32. The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) examined the PSI and interdiction in its latest Report, in which it noted:

    At present the UK has no powers to seize goods subject to export controls on the high seas, or to interdict ships on the grounds that they are carrying such goods. The 2005 Protocol to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (the SUA Protocol) will strengthen the international legal basis to impede and prosecute the trafficking of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials on the high seas in commercial ships by requiring state parties to criminalise such transport. The Protocol also establishes a mechanism to facilitate the boarding in international waters of vessels suspected of engaging in these activities. The SUA Protocol will only come into force after ratification by 12 countries. The Government said that currently only three countries—Spain, Cook Islands and St Kitts and Nevis—had ratified it.[55]

UK ratification will be facilitated by provisions of the Transport Security Bill, part of the 2008/09 Draft Legislative Programme and due to be introduced in the 2009/10 Parliamentary Session.[56]

33. We conclude that the UK's failure so far to ratify the 2005 Protocol to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation is regrettable, given the way in which the Protocol will strengthen the UK's ability to impede the trafficking by sea of WMD-related materials. We further conclude that the provisions of the planned Transport Security Bill which will facilitate UK ratification are to be welcomed, and look forward to their early passage. We recommend that the Government should work actively to secure ratifications of the Protocol by other states so that it may rapidly enter into force.


34. Another important element in the development of a WMD capability is the availability of staff with the required technical expertise. There are hundreds of laboratories in the UK from which staff could remove relevant materials,[57] and there are historical cases of weapons scientists being trained in the UK. For example Rihab Taha, or 'Dr Germ', who studied for her PhD in plant toxins at the School of Biological Sciences of the University of East Anglia, went on to work on Iraq's biological weapons programme.[58] Dr A Q Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist who helped to supply the illicit nuclear weapons programmes of Iran, Libya, North Korea and possibly other states, worked at the uranium enrichment facility at Almelo in the Netherlands at an early stage in his career. In the US, the 2001 anthrax attacks which killed five people have been attributed by the authorities to a researcher at a US Army research laboratory, Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide in July 2008.[59] This attack demonstrated the threat from individuals with malicious intent. The Sixth Review Conference of the BTWC in December 2006 agreed an Inter-sessional Work Programme for 2007-2010 which includes work on oversight of science and codes of conduct.[60] Our predecessor Committee's Report on the Biological Weapons Green Paper in 2002 recommended that the Government should take steps towards an international code of conduct for scientists working with dangerous pathogens.[61]

35. In November 2007 the Government introduced the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), a new system for overseeing security clearance for research students entering the UK from outside the European Economic Area. ATAS applies to those studying certain sensitive subjects in the fields of science and engineering at postgraduate (mainly research) level. It is administered by the FCO and replaced the previous Voluntary Vetting Scheme (VVS), under which universities decided which applicants were referred for vetting.[62] Universities UK told us that a review of the VVS "was initiated following concerns about the effectiveness of the scheme as a counter-proliferation measure raised both by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee."[63] Under ATAS, students are required to complete a free, online application form once they receive an offer of a place from their Higher Education Institution. The information provided is assessed by officials from the FCO and advisers from the MOD, Defence Intelligence Staff and intelligence agencies, with the aim that this will take place within three weeks, with most answered in 5-10 days. An ATAS certificate is specific to the institution and course but multiple certificates can be held by any one individual. A certificate is a prerequisite for an application from a relevant individual to enter or remain in the UK.[64] 2008 was the first year in which ATAS operated over the busy autumn universities admission period. The FCO reported that:

    An interim review of ATAS has already taken place and made several suggestions on funding and upgrading, including developing ATAS IT capacity. We will shortly be undertaking a full review of the Scheme, with input from Partners across Government, Posts and academia.[65]

Universities UK described ATAS as "a proportionate response to an important national security issue" and points out that it "has not received any significant concerns from HEIs about the new scheme."[66] A recent press report suggested that up to 100 students have been prevented from studying in the UK by the ATAS scheme.[67]

36. In addition to measures dealing with foreign students, there have been press reports that MI5 and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office have been vetting scientists without their knowledge, where they have access to incurable viruses which it is believed terrorists might be seeking to acquire.[68]

37. We conclude that the Government is to be commended for introducing the Academic Technology Approval Scheme regarding security clearance for foreign students in sensitive fields, which is a significant improvement on the previous Voluntary Vetting Scheme. We recommend that the Government should take swift action to address any shortcomings in this relatively new scheme which are identified in its imminent review of the scheme's operation, of which we expect to receive a copy. We further recommend that the Government should set out in its response to this Report the progress made on oversight of science and codes of conduct for scientists as part of the current Inter-sessional Work Programme of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.


38. The Government is committed to restricting the supply of finance to states, groups or individuals intending to proliferate relevant weapons or materials. Both the EU and the UN have asset-freezing regimes in place.[69] The FCO told us that:

    HM Treasury leads on work within the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to identify future methods of tackling the financing of proliferation activity. They are also working closely with HM Revenue and Customs, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the Financial Services Authority on the UK domestic/legal response to this issue. We await an expected FATF report on Proliferation Finance and aim to build on its recommendations and to assist states which do not have capacity to enforce the recommendations themselves.[70]

Recently, Iran has been subject to financial restrictions. Bill Rammell told us that "in the UK, Iranian banks no longer have access to sterling clearing facilities" since "about 18 months or two years ago."[71] However, we are concerned that this may not have been as early as possible. Lloyds TSB has recently paid $350 million to US authorities following a breach of the US International Emergency Economic Powers Act, principally in relation to Iran. The bank removed payment originator information from some inter-bank payments instructions so that they could not be identified as originating from countries under US sanctions. The Treasury informed us that Lloyds TSB broke only US and not UK or EU law because EU regulations outlawing such payments only took effect in January 2007, whilst the transactions in question ceased in 2003. HM Treasury added that:

    HMG continues to ensure UN and EU sanctions regimes are implemented robustly in the UK. We are the only country so far to be graded fully compliant with international standards on asset freezing by the Financial Action Task Force.[72]

39. We conclude that restricting the finance available to those intending to proliferate nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery systems is a potentially effective mechanism to achieve non-proliferation aims. We recommend that the Government should consider how this can be done as quickly as possible when proliferation risks are identified. We further recommend that in its response to this Report, or earlier if possible, the Government should send us a copy of the imminent report of the international Financial Action Task Force, with an accompanying memorandum indicating whether, when and how it will implement its recommendations.

Scope for rationalisation of the non-proliferation architecture

40. A striking feature of the non-proliferation and disarmament landscape is the involvement of a large number of organisations whose work often overlaps. These include the UN (and organisations under its aegis such as the International Atomic Energy Agency), the EU, NATO, the G8 and the OSCE. A number of agreements have also been pursued in multilateral forums outside these structures, particularly in the field of conventional weapons, whilst other negotiations have proceeded on a purely bilateral basis, most notably between the US and Russia. Multilateral agreements are commonly supported by an organisation which oversees implementation of the relevant instrument, such as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, set up in support of the Chemical Weapons Convention, or the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, set up to support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In addition, as outlined above, there are a number of voluntary export control regimes in place covering different weapons types. This multiplicity of organisations prompted us to ask the FCO to provide us with details of the organisations involved in this field and its assessment of areas of overlap.[73]

41. Two of these organisations, the Zangger Committee (ZC) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), both focussed on exports of nuclear materials, have membership lists which overlap considerably. The FCO acknowledged that "the issue of disbanding the ZC has occasionally arisen over the past few years" but argued that "the technical work of the ZC is entirely complementary to the NSG" since "it is not a political forum, and has a different membership", emphasising the value of its system of annual reporting. The FCO also stressed that "ZC meetings often take place the day before NSG Consultative Group meetings, so as to reduce travel costs for members."[74]

42. The Government further described the discussions that occurred over whether the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation Preparatory Commission should be located within the IAEA or outside it. It was decided that:

    the Secretariat for a treaty whose technical and operation functions are distinct from those of the IAEA were more appropriately housed separately. But co-location in Vienna allows for close coordination between the two organisations—and promotes efficiency in the way in which Member States/State Signatories interact with them.[75]

43. There are multiple proposed mechanisms for internationalising the nuclear fuel cycle, as outlined in Chapter 3 below. In Chapter 7 we examine the support that the Government has given to securing a protocol on cluster munitions as part of the UN framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, when it would appear to duplicate, or undermine its ratification of, the Convention on Cluster Munitions. An Arms Trade Treaty would also be likely to have implications for work already being carried out regarding the control of conventional weapons. When we asked Bill Rammell whether it would be possible to rationalise some of the effort in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament he told us that:

    What you need to ensure is that there is not competitive overlap between the different approaches and not friction between them, and you have to spend and work a lot to ensure that that is the case. Take the example of the nuclear fuel cycle and how we can ensure that civil nuclear power is not being diverted into nuclear weapons. There are about 12 different international initiatives at the moment. On one level you might say that is too much […] In an ideal world, you would probably say you need one initiative that everybody agrees on, and you pull together on. However, the world is not quite like that. What you need to ensure is that initiatives do not detract from each other, and I do not believe they do. If different states are working in different areas and actually make progress, I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing.[76]

44. We conclude that the sheer number of organisations and initiatives in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament may lead to a lack of focussed progress. We recommend that the Government should press for the rationalisation of international efforts in this area and set out in its response to this Report where it believes such rationalisation could occur.

9   Cabinet Office, The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, Cm 7291, March 2008, paras 3.11-3.13 Back

10   Ibid., paras 3.5, 3.12 Back

11   Ibid., para 4.17 Back

12   PSA 1, via Back

13   FCO, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Departmental Report, 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008, Cm 7398, May 2009, p 143 Back

14   PSA Delivery Agreement 30, October 2007, via Back

15   FCO, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Departmental Report, 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008, Cm 7398, May 2009, pp 15-16, 84-85; Ev 171 Back

16   Ev 172; see paras 266-269 below. Back

17   Ev 172 Back

18   Cabinet Office, The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, Cm 7291, March 2008, para 2.1 Back

19   Ev 172 Back

20   Ev 174; Dr Gerrard Quille, "The EU's approach to tackling the proliferation of materials and weapons of mass destruction and prospects for cooperation on the eve of a new US Administration", European Parliament, Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union, November 2008 Back

21   Secretary General/High Representative of the Council of the European Union, "Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy - Providing Security in a Changing World", Brussels, 10 December 2008, Back

22   Council of the European Union, "EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction", Brussels, 10 December 2003, Back

23   Ev 301; for the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund, see paras 292-293. Back

24   Q 74 Back

25   Q 74; for these two Conventions see Chapter 4. Back

26   Q 74 Back

27   Ev 173 Back

28   Q 77 Back

29   Q 70 Back

30   Q 73 Back

31   Q 269 Back

32   Q 270 Back

33   Q 269 Back

34   "President Names First Government-wide Coordinator of WMD Policy", CQ Today, 29 January 2009 Back

35   Ev 301 Back

36   Ev 148, 150 Back

37   Ev 154 Back

38   Q 171 Back

39   Q 171 Back

40   Ev 290 Back

41   See Business and Enterprise, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees, First Joint Report of Session 2007-08, Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2008): UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2006, Quarterly Reports for 2007, licensing policy and review of export control legislation, HC 254. Back

42   Ev 287  Back

43   Ev 297 Back

44   Ev 186 Back

45  Back

46   Ev 220 Back

47   Ev 291 Back

48   Ev 296 Back

49   Ev 296 Back

50   Ev 187, 296 Back

51   Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment, 8 December 2008 Back

52   Ev 173, 298 Back

53   Ev 175; "North Korean Nuclear Blast Draws Global Condemnation", Washington Post, 26 May 2009 Back

54   "North Korea abandons armistice agreement", Wall Street Journal Asia, 28 May 2009 Back

55   Business and Enterprise, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees, First Joint Report of Session 2007-08, Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2008): UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2006, Quarterly Reports for 2007, licensing policy and review of export control legislation, HC 254, para 139 Back

56   Government Response to Business and Enterprise, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees, First Joint Report of Session 2007-08, Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2008): UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2006, Quarterly Reports for 2007, licensing policy and review of export control legislation, HC 254, page 21 Back

57   Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2007-08, Biosecurity in UK Research Laboratories, HC 360, para 56 Back

58   "Terrorists try to infiltrate UK's top labs", The Observer, 2 November 2008 Back

59   "Bioterrorism: a mystery unravelled", The Economist, 9 August 2008 Back

60   Ev 185 Back

61   Foreign Affairs Committee, First Report of Session 2002-03, The Biological Weapons Green Paper, HC 150, para 37 Back

62   Ev 176, 261 Back

63   Ev 261 Back

64   Business and Enterprise, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees, First Joint Report of Session 2007-08, Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2008): UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2006, Quarterly Reports for 2007, licensing policy and review of export control legislation, HC 254; Ev 69, 261 Back

65   Ev 176 Back

66   Ev 261 Back

67   "Terrorists try to infiltrate UK's top labs", The Observer, 2 November 2008 Back

68   "MI5 fears virus theft from labs", Daily Telegraph, 31 March 2008 Back

69   HM Government, Pursue Prevent Protect Prepare: The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering International Terrorism, Cm 7547, March 2009, p 74 Back

70   Ev 176 Back

71   Qq 237-238 Back

72   Letter to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, 23 February 2009, MISC 89, published online at Back

73   Ev 297 Back

74   Ev 297 Back

75   Ev 293 Back

76   Q 226 Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2009
Prepared 14 June 2009