Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Spokesperson in the Lords, Home Affairs; Liberal Democrat) asked Her Majesty’s Government:
- Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 12 March (WA 240—1), what specific proposals for creating a nuclear weapon-free world and to support zero tolerance of proliferation they propose to take to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting from 28 April to 9 May.
Lord Malloch-Brown (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office): Our primary objective for the 2008 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee meeting will be to continue to develop the conditions for a successful outcome to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, essentially a strengthened NPT and seeking to make it harder for countries to withdraw from the NPT. The UK will present the preliminary findings of our research into the verification of nuclear disarmament, which the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston has been working on in conjunction with Norwegian defence laboratories and the non-governmental organisation Verification Research, Training and Information Centre. We will also discuss with key states the UK proposals for an enrichment bond and a UN Security Council permanent members’ Nuclear Laboratories Conference. In our national statements, we will continue to call for the start of negotiations without preconditions on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and for those states who have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
- Whether they have any proposals to provide that nuclear disarmament should take place in parallel with nuclear non-proliferation. [HL2017]
Lord Malloch-Brown (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The UK is committed to working towards a world free of nuclear weapons, to zero tolerance of proliferation and to the integrity and strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. In his speech of 5 February to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence noted that,
“although we all understand that there is no formal conditionality between progress on disarmament and non-proliferation, our goal should be a virtuous circle, where progress on one reinforces the other”.
- What is their position regarding the model nuclear weapons convention submitted by Costa Rica and Malaysia in 1997; and what preparations they have made for the implementation and verification that would be necessary for a worldwide convention. [HL1995]
Lord Malloch-Brown (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The Government consider the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to be the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the framework for nuclear disarmament. The UK has an excellent record in implementing its disarmament obligations under Article VI of the NPT and is committed to working towards a safer world in which there is no requirement for nuclear weapons. The Government do not support any new process, including a nuclear weapons convention, that could risk cutting across the existing NPT regime and therefore have not been involved with any preparation for the verification or implementation of such a convention.