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Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the United Kingdom's policy is with regard to the possible use of Britain's nuclear weapons to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction against British territory, armed forces or civilians; [51139]

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Mr. Hoon: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the answer I gave on 10 April 2001, Official Report, column 30W, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith).

Outreach Programme

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Outreach programme of the Defence Diplomacy Mission since July 1998. [51258]

Mr. Ingram: The Government are committed to strengthening stability and security in central and eastern Europe, the Caucasus and central Asia by offering assistance with defence and security sector reform. The Outreach programme was launched by the Ministry of Defence in the early 1990s to engage the 27 countries of the former Warsaw pact, the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia in defence cooperation relationships. Centred in the Defence Diplomacy Mission, the Outreach programme seeks to assist in the development of stable, sovereign and democratic states throughout the region through its programmes of bilateral defence cooperation.

At the highest level, a principal measure of the success of the Outreach programme is the accession to NATO of countries it supports. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland secured membership of NATO in 1999; and a further nine countries—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Albania, Macedonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania—are candidates for NATO membership this year.

More generally, across the region Outreach has been successful in:

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have been enrolled in the Defence Diplomacy Scholarship at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in each year since 1998; how many have graduated from the scholarship in each year since 1998; and if he will make a statement. [51254]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Diplomacy Scholarship Scheme was one of the initiatives announced in the Strategic Defence Review. The scheme provides an opportunity for foreign military officers and Government officials to study for an Msc in Global Security or undertake the Managing Defence in a Democratic Market Based Society short course, at Cranfield University at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham.

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Since the inception of the scheme in July 1999 the number of students that have enrolled and graduated on each course under the scheme are:

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many short-term training teams were sent out under his Department's Outreach programme in each year since 1995, stating in each case (a) the destination, (b) the number of personnel involved, (c) the purpose of the mission, (d) the cost of the mission and (e) the duration of the mission; and if he will make a statement; [51257]

Mr. Ingram: As part of the Defence diplomacy mission, the Outreach programme of bilateral defence co-operation in Central and Eastern Europe contributes to international stability by assisting countries in the region to establish democratically accountable, cost effective armed forces capable of contributing both to national and regional security and, increasingly, to international security through participation in peace support operations. Training courses, attachments and short-term training teams are core components of the Outreach programme, and the full details requested by the hon. Member will take time to assemble. I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Specialist Support

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the instances since July 1998 where his Department or the armed forces have been required to offer specialist support to the civil authorities stating in each case the number of personnel involved and the duration of the mission; and if he will make a statement. [51261]

Mr. Ingram: The armed forces provide military assistance to the civil authorities (MACA) on a daily basis. The assistance includes, for instance, search and

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rescue, and support to the police in the identification and disposal of explosive devices. The assistance provided to the Police Service of Northern Ireland also falls under the general heading of MACA. The total number of individual tasks undertaken since July 1998 runs into the thousands. Detailed records of many of these activities are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. There have, however, been a number of large-scale and high profile emergency tasks, details of which are in the table.

Regular forces
Operation and durationArmyRN(4)RAFTA
Fuel dispute60015660
September 2000
On standby November 2000
October-November 2000
Foot and Mouth(6)1,90717891(7)266
March-October 2001
Merseyside Fire Strike1511911910
July 2001

(4) Including RM

(5) About

(6) This serial records the maximum number of regulars deployed on a single day during the foot and mouth crisis and the total number of TA soldiers deployed throughout the crisis.

(7) It is possible that the figure may count some individuals involved more than once in support of MAFF/DEFRA, as two individuals.

Support and Humanitarian Operations

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of UK front-line capability was available to the United Nations for peace support and humanitarian operations in (a) July 1998 and (b) April 2002; and if he will make a statement. [51488]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom does not earmark specific forces for peacekeeping operations, but under the UN's standby arrangements system, designed to facilitate the rapid deployment of forces once political decisions have been made, we have declared a range of forces with information on capabilities and readiness. We announced, as part of the Strategic Defence Review, our intention to declare the full range of our rapidly deployable forces, additional strategic lift and logistics capabilities as potentially available to the UN. This new declaration was incorporated into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which the Government signed with the UN in June 1999.

The MOU makes it clear that we would be prepared to consider the provision of forces up to a full brigade size to meet the specific needs of a UN operation. It is not possible to say precisely which of the forces listed in the MOU are available at any one time. The exact availability of the forces for peacekeeping depends on a range of factors, not least other continuing and known future commitments. The decision to commit United Kingdom forces to any UN operation will continue to be a national one.

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