HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 cc207-8W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries(a) hold and (b) are suspected of holding stocks of (i) chemical weapons, (ii) biological weapons and (iii) nuclear weapons. [22865]

Mr. Bradshaw

There are four states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (the US, Russia, India and another state party) that have declared possession of chemical weapons, to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). They are currently in the process of destroying them, in accordance with their obligations under the Convention. Information received in confidence from Foreign Governments is exempt under Exemption 1c of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

The development, production and stockpiling of biological weapons was prohibited by the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972.

The UK recognises five nuclear weapon states as defined by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT-1968) (UK, US, France, Russia, China). India and Pakistan have announced that they have a nuclear weapons capability. The UK continues to encourage Israel to resolve concerns about its nuclear programme by acceding to the NPT as a non-Nuclear Weapon State. We have also encouraged Israel to sign a full scope safeguards agreement and supported United Nations General Assembly Resolutions on a Middle East nuclear weapons' free zone. A large number of other states have the technical capacity to produce nuclear weapons, but have committed themselves not to do so by adhering to the NPT.

It has been the policy of successive Governments not to comment on specific intelligence matters or assessments.