HL Deb 27 November 2002 vol 641 cc46-7WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What discussion they have had on reported NATO proposals for pre-emptive military strikes against suspected terrorists without prior approval or consent from the state in question; and how such strikes can be reconciled with existing international law and the desirable global rule of law. [HL176]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

At the Prague Summit, NATO leaders approved a package of measures to strengthen the alliance's ability to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. They reiterated their determination to protect our populations, territory and forces from any armed attack, including terrorist attack, directed from abroad, in accordance with the Washington. Treaty and the Charter of the United Nations.

The Government support the right to take necessary and proportionate military action in self-defence, not only where an attack has occurred but also pre-emptively where an attack is imminent, such as in Afghanistan. The Government support the view that this right under international law applies as much to threats from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as to the more conventional threats of the past.