Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Liberal Democrat): To ask Her Majesty’s Government why Ambassador John Duncan did not attend the Conference From Aspiration to Reality: Nuclear Disarmament after the NPT review when all other nuclear states were represented.
Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative): The UK appreciates the continued work of the Global Security Institute and Middle Power Initiative [MPI] in support of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. The Government are committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons and to working with our nuclear weapon state partners to make progress on multilateral disarmament.
Ambassador Duncan had planned to attend and speak at the MPI’s September 14-15 conference in Geneva. Unfortunately, he was called away from Geneva at short notice. We are grateful to the MPI for their understanding and hope to be able to participate in future such discussions.
Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour) – My Lords, it is a great pleasure to follow the noble Baroness in contributing to this debate. I will not follow the threads that she pulled from it because this is my maiden speech and I am constrained to be, what some might say, uncharacteristically brief. I commend her on her contribution to the debate and the issues that she picked from this helpful report-and more broadly. I, too, await the responses of the Minister to the points that she raises.
Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour) – To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made to achieve agreement on including a fourth pillar to the non-proliferation treaty to cover nuclear security at the United Nations Review conference in May.
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office) – As the Government stated in the Road to 2010 (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/reports/roadto2010.aspx), “nuclear security must be seen as the fourth pillar of any nuclear regime, alongside non-proliferation, disarmament and the right to peaceful uses of nuclear technology”. It is not our intention to reopen the non-proliferation treaty. We will use the Washington summit in April to press for more work, co-ordinated globally, to secure a stronger international consensus for making nuclear security an essential underpinning of the multilateral nuclear framework.