HC Deb 02 November 1998 vol 318 cc414-5W
Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the Government have to enable the international community to purchase from countries of the former Soviet Union their stocks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons so that they can be destroyed. [56473]

Mr. George Robertson

I have been asked to reply.

Purchasing nuclear chemical and biological weapons would be prohibited under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions. We do, however, keep under review possibilities for assisting Russia and the other countries of the former Soviet Union in destroying their stocks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ensuring safe and secure management of associated materials. Assistance provided to date includes contributing to funding the International Science and Technology Centre, to provide employment for scientists previously employed on weapons of mass destruction programmes. We are currently considering whether we could provide effective national assistance to Russia for destruction of chemical weapons, in addition to the 10–15m ecu allocated under the European Union's Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) programme. We are also studying possible opportunities for collaboration within the G8 framework to dispose of plutonium surplus to defence needs in Russia.

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