§ 101. Mr. Thorne
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in arms verification negotiations with the Soviet Union which have implications for the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Mellor
Significant progress in the area of verification was made at the Stockholm conference on confidence-building which concluded in September 1986 with agreement on a substantial package of measures including provision for verification of compliance through on-site "challenge" inspection. The INF treaty signed on 8 December between the United States and Soviet Union also contains stringent verification provisions, including provisions for on-site inspections. The United Kingdom signed an exchange of notes with the Soviet Union on 21 December which granted the Soviet Union the right to conduct inspections at RAF Greenham Common and RAF Molesworth, the only United Kingdom bases covered by the INF agreement. In return, the Soviet Union agreed to comply with British laws and procedures.
The negotiations for a comprehensive ban on chemical weapons will contain extensive verification arrangements, including the need to monitor certain activities of the civil chemical industry. Good progress has recently been made. However, many important details remain to be settled and early agreement is unlikely.