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