Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 19th July 2011.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West 11:30 am, 19th July 2011

What recent progress his Department has made on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We continue to work across all three pillars of the non-proliferation treaty to build on the success of last year’s review conference in New York. I am particularly proud of the work we have done towards ensuring the first conference of nuclear weapon states, which was held recently in Paris—the P5 conference—in which further progress was made, particularly towards disarmament.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West

Does not the tumult of the Arab spring mean it would be a good idea to advance the date of the planned conference next year? That would give us a real chance positively to involve both Iran and Israel.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The conference to which the hon. Gentleman draws attention was designed to provide for a weapon of mass destruction-free middle east and was part of the outcome of the review conference in New York last year. The steps taken to build up confidence to get to that conference are obviously complex and although it would be good if it could be advanced, the practical difficulties will probably outweigh that. The fact that it is there on the table as something for people to work to for 2012 is a good thing and we should concentrate on that, but any hopes that it might be brought forward may be dashed.