HC Deb 29 June 1995 vol 262 cc1076-7
9. Dr. Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made on the decommissioning of arms and explosives held by paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. [29809]

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Sir John Wheeler)

The Government have made clear the practical necessity for progress in the decommissioning of illegally held arms and explosives in order to build an adequate foundation of trust and confidence for inclusive political talks. The exploratory dialogue continues to provide the right forum in which to discuss these issues.

Dr. Spink

I am grateful for that robust response. Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that the Government will continue to be guided by the three-point plan which his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State outlined in his Washington speech? The three points are that there will be clear agreement on the principle of decommissioning, that there will be agreement on the means by which that decommissioning will be achieved and that there will be practical evidence that the decommissioning is under way.

Sir John Wheeler

I am glad to give my hon. Friend the assurance he seeks. I can assure the House that the Government have no intention of departing from those three conditions.