HC Deb 12 July 1982 vol 27 c270W
Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a decision is likely to be made concerning the ratification by the United Kingdom of the United Nations law of the sea treaty.

Mr. Rifkind

The Law of the Sea Convention will open for signature and ratification after the Final Act has been signed, probably in December. The decision on what attitude the United Kingdom should adopt will depend on the examination row being conducted into the results of the conference.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether he will seek to ensure that before any final signature of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, there will be removed from the proposed agreement any proposals concerning deep sea mining and the status of uninhabited islands; and whether he will make a further statement on the Law of the Sea Conference;

(2) whether, having regard to the provision in the Law of the Sea Convention that uninhabited islands shall have no exclusive economic zone, it will be permissible to continue to measure the British exclusive fishery zone from Rockall, St. Kilda and other uninhabited offshore islands;

(3) whether Her Majesty's Government intend to declare a 12 miles territorial sea limit consequent upon any agreement on this at the Law of the Sea Conference.

Mr. Rifkind

We are examining the texts which have emerged from the Law of the Sea Conference in the light of all the United Kingdom interests involved and the attitudes of other Governments. Any decision about the convention or issues connected with it will depend on the results of this examination.