Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

Letter to the Head, Parliamentary Relations Team from the Second Clerk of the Committee

  I write further to the oral evidence session on 4 February 2009 with Bill Rammell MP to request some further information. The Committee would be grateful for a further memorandum from the FCO addressing the following points:

    1. Mr Rammell indicated that he would "reflect on" the question (Q227 and 228) in which the Chairman asked whether the term "Weapons of Mass Destruction" was helpful because it does not distinguish between nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The Committee would be grateful for further details of the way in which the Government uses this term and Mr Rammell's considered view on how helpful a term it is.

    2. What role does the Government forsee for the EU and NATO in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament, particularly in light of its stated long-term aim to pursue the abolition of all nuclear weapons and the fact that all NATO members are effectively covered by the extended deterrence of the US nuclear umbrella? How does the European Security Strategy relate to the UK's National Security Strategy in this regard?

    3. What is the UK's policy with regards to the future of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention's Implementation Support Unit (ISU)? Does the Government support an expansion of the remit, budget and staffing of the ISU? Is there any prospect of creating an organisation in this field which resembles the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons?

    4. How does the Government intend to persuade sceptics that the Arms Trade Treaty should be based on the applicability of international human rights and international humanitarian law?

    5. Can the Open Ended Working Group be an effective mechanism for advancing negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty? Will an overwhelming majority approach help or hinder negotiations and is the UK supportive of such an approach in general? If not, why is it in this specific case?

    6. Mr Rammell indicated that he would provide the Committee with further details of the contracts for de-mining in the Falkland Islands.

  It would be helpful if we could receive a response to these further points by 23 February.

9 February 2009

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