Letter from Ann Hillier
Today there is a crisis looming again between
the states of East and West and the work of the Foreign Affairs
Committee Inquiry is vital in maintaining a peaceful outcome.
I would like to make three points.
1. The NPT has been effective in preventing the
spread of nuclear weapons and other states to a large extent.
It was a good treaty and has helped to keep a peaceful and safer
world for millions of people, but it is time to move it to on
to the next stage and protect new generations from what we have
lived through. I hope the Committee will take this opportunity
to make a bold step forward.
2. The P5 countriesChina, France,
Russia, UK, USare continuing to modernise their nuclear
arsenals. This is against the principles of the NPT even if not
against the rules as laid down. We are planning to develop Trident
and "improve" its capabilities, but we are not working
towards "a cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early
date". Those words were written in 1968 and we are
no nearer achieving this the main purpose of the Treaty. We need
to take action if we are to expect anyone else to take action,
and I hope this will be a main concern of the Committee.
3. Today Russia is feeling beleaguered and hemmed
in by a growing European Union, and NATO, which has led to military
action in Georgia. Unless steps are taken to relieve the understandable
pressures on the Russian government, then there are likely to
be more tanks on the streets, or other violent responses to the
situation. What we could do to ease this situation is to ensure
that the US does not use our bases at Fylingdales and Menwith
Hill for their new missile defence system, and encourage them
to pull out of their plans in Poland. We do not have to agree
to all US requests, and by making a stand on this we would be
reassuring Russia that there is no strategy for a new "Cold
1 September 2008