HC Deb 28 June 1988 vol 136 cc224-5W
Mr. Stern

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the working of mutual inspection arrangements under the INF treaty.

Mr. Ian Stewart

Five types of inspection are permitted under the INF treaty. The first of these will be the baseline inspections to verify data exchanged under the treaty, and which will be undertaken during July and August this year. Thereafter there will be short notice (16 hours) inspections at INF related facilities. Twenty such inspections may be carried out annually by each of the parties to the treaty for three years, by which time all treaty limited items must be eleminated; 15 in each of the next five years and 10 in each of the five years thereafter. No more than half his allocation of short notice inspections may be carried out in any one country. As missiles are withdrawn so each party will be entitled to conduct elimination inspections at the designated facilities to ensure that treaty limited items are destroyed in accordance with agreed procedures. The fourth type of inspection will occur when an INF related facility is declared no longer to contain treaty limited items. The other party may then conduct a "close-out" inspection to be assured that all such items have indeed been withdrawn. Finally, each party is entitled to establish a perimeter and portal monitoring system to inspect containers entering and leaving one missile production facility on the other's territory.

Of these inspections, baseline, short notice and "close-out" inspections will take place in the United Kingdom at RAF Greenham Common and RAF Molesworth with the full knowledge, consent and co-operation of the Government. Inspection activity will be co-ordinated by the United States On Site Inspection Agency based in Washington. The United Kingdom will play a full part in the conduct of inspections at RAF Greenham Common and RAF Molesworth and will escort Soviet inspectors throughout their stay. National sovereignty will be observed and maintained at all times. Precise details of inspection arrangements may be found in the inspection protocol to the INF treaty; in the basing country agreement between the United Kingdom, other NATO basing countries and the United States; and in the exchange of notes between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, copies of which are in the Library.

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