HC Deb 16 December 1987 vol 124 cc569-70W
58. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if there have been recent developments regarding reductions in conventional forces in Europe.

Mr. Mellor

Reasonable progress is being made at the informal discussions in Vienna to agree a mandate for conventional stability talks covering the Atlantic to Urals area. We hope formal negotiations will begin next year. The Western aim in these negotiations will be to achieve security at lower levels by eliminating disparities and the Warsaw pact's capability for surprise attack. On the mutual and balanced force reductions talks, also in Vienna, progress has been disappointing owing to the East's refusal to respond positively to Western proposals on verification and data.