HC Deb 21 April 1999 vol 329 cc568-9W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the proposals put forward by(a) South Africa, (b) Egypt, (c) Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Norway, collectively, (d) Canada and (e) Group of 21 to the United Nations current Conference on Disarmament, in respect of nuclear disarmament; what support has been given by Britain to each proposal; and what proposals on nuclear disarmament have been submitted to the United Nations current Conference on Disarmament by the United Kingdom. [81569]

Mr. Tony Lloyd

The highest priority for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in 1999 is that negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty should begin in earnest. We therefore wish to see the re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee set up in 1998 for this purpose. Such a treaty is the internationally agreed next step towards nuclear disarmament.

Because the CD operates by consensus, the agreement of all participating countries on a work plan for the year must be obtained before substantive discussions can begin. We have therefore assessed all proposals made so far in the light of the prospects of their attracting such consensus support. Regrettably, none has yet done so. We will continue to press for a formula on which all can agree.

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