Weapons of Mass Destruction

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 1st September 2004.

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Photo of Mr Denzil Davies Mr Denzil Davies Labour, Llanelli

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the countries which the Government (a) knows and (b) believes, to possess weapons of mass destruction.

Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), five states—the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Russia and China—are legally entitled to possess nuclear weapons. Additionally, India and Pakistan have both carried out tests of nuclear explosive devices. We regularly urge Israel to resolve international concerns about its nuclear status by acceding to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state. We continue to believe that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) has both the materials and the technical capability to produce nuclear weapons. We also remain very concerned that Iran continues to have ambitions to manufacture nuclear weapons.

All States Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention that have declared possession of chemical weapons are in the process of destroying their stocks of these weapons in accordance with their obligations under the Convention.

We warmly welcome recent moves by Libya to abandon its programmes for the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

We continue to believe that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was pursuing programmes for the development of WMD and are also concerned by persistent reports that Syria is also pursuing such programmes.

We regularly urge all countries to sign, ratify and abide by the obligations of all Treaties and Conventions covering the proliferation of WMD.

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