§ Mr. Pawsey
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the principal achievements of his Department since June 1987.
§ Mr. Tom King
The Ministry of Defence has continued its work, in concert with other Government Departments, to sustain national security, principally through a resolute commitment to the North Atlantic alliance. We have played a full part in NATO's response to changing security circumstances in Europe, as outlined in the London declaration of July 1990.
We are looking at "Options for Change" in our own armed forces to reflect the improved security situation in Europe, which should allow us to maintain strong defences with lower levels of armed forces.
Following Iraq's unprovoked invasion of Kuwait, British forces are now engaged in the international effort to secure Iraqi withdrawal and to restore international peace and security in the area, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions.
We have supported and contributed to NATO's efforts to establish closer relations with the Soviet Union and the countries of eastern Europe, and have been actively engaged in European arms control talks. We have worked to strengthen the European pillar of the alliance, and through our chairmanship of the independent European programme group have helped to promote closer European co-operation in defence.
We continue to seek greater efficiency in the management of defence and are implementing a number of 136W programmes to safeguard and build upon the Department's generally good record of protecting the natural environment.