HL Deb 01 February 1995 vol 560 cc115-6WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the "mil-to-mil" programme which has been operating in central and eastern Europe, what are its purposes, and by whom is it funded.

Lord Henley

We have successfully negotiated memoranda of understanding on programmes of defence contacts and co-operation with the following countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Albania. We hope to have concluded negotiations on a similar agreement with Slovenia, and to have signed the document by the end of February 1995. The UK's defence contacts with the countries of central and eastern Europe have included high level visits, working level exchanges, training and joint military exercises. Other areas in which we have placed particular emphasis are: military resettlement, nuclear assistance (Russia), English Language training and the development of civilian expertise in defence management.

The overall aim of the UK's programme of defence contacts is to contribute to the achievement of a situation in which a return to conflict within Europe is impossible. In the short term our aim is to conduct defence co-operation, in co-operation, in co-ordination with the NATO Partnership For Peace programme, with the countries of central and eastern Europe, in order to: promote stability in Europe; enhance their ability to contribute to international peacekeeping and crisis management; create opportunities for UK forces training; and encourage equipment co-operation.

The programmes of defence contacts and co-operation are funded jointly by my department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.