HL Deb 06 February 1989 vol 503 c1421WA
Lord Reay

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What has happened to the mutual and balanced force reduction talks.

Lord Glenarthur

On 2nd February 1989 the negotiations on the mutual reduction of forces and armaments and associated measures in Central Europe (commonly known as MBFR), which began in Vienna in 1973, formally came to an end by mutual agreement of all participants. A copy of the joint communiqué marking the closure of talks has been placed in the Library. The negotiations failed to produce any agreement, which the Government regret. They nonetheless represented a first exploration of the vital area of conventional arms control; and they have increased mutual understanding of the complexity and importance of the issues involved. The experience gained by the participants about the process of negotiating on conventional armaments has been valuable; and some convergence of views was reached on certain principles which should apply to conventional arms reductions. The talks have thus laid a foundation for further consideration of these issues in the forthcoming negotiations on conventional armed forces in Europe: these are scheduled to begin in Vienna in March.