Land Mines

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 2:18 pm on 3rd May 1995.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry , High Peak 2:18 pm, 3rd May 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has held with his EC counterparts on formulating a common policy regarding the export of land mines. [20429]

Photo of David Davis David Davis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

As my hon. Friend will have heard me say already, on 10 April the Foreign Affairs Council agreed a proposal for joint action on land mines. The joint action includes a European Union-wide moratorium on the export of anti-personnel land mines—identical in scope to our own moratorium—joint efforts to strengthen the UN weaponry convention, and support for demining.

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry , High Peak

I thank my hon. Friend for that clear answer. The House will welcome the fact that Britain has taken the lead in that matter and that other Governments in the European Union are now following it. In view of serious concern around the country about the export of land mines and in the light of a misleading recent television documentary, will my hon. Friend take this opportunity to tell the House exactly what the moratorium covers and why?

Photo of David Davis David Davis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

My hon. Friend is right about the misleading information. I originally announced our national moratorium on the export of anti-personnel land mines in July 1994. On 15 March, I extended its scope and it now comprises a total ban on the export of non self-destructing or non-detectable anti-personnel land mines, because those are the most dangerous to civilians, plus a ban on the export of all anti-personnel land mines to countries which have not ratified the weaponry convention.