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Whether the Strategic Defence Review of July 1998 committed Britain to a 50 per cent. cut in the number
Whether the Strategic Defence Review of July 1998 committed Britain to an operational stockpile of 200 nuclear warheads, as reported in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament parliamentary briefing paper of 1 June; and if not, what is the size of the stockpile; and[HL3130]
Whether the Strategic Defence Review of July 1998 included a commitment to replace or upgrade the Trident warhead, as reported in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament parliamentary briefing paper of 1 June; and[HL3131]
Whether the Strategic Defence Review of July 1998 included a refusal to reduce the number of Britain's nuclear weapons or to negotiate such reductions until the nuclear weapons of the United States and Russia have been greatly reduced in number, as stated in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament parliamentary briefing paper of 1 June.[HL3132]
Lord Gilbert: I refer the noble Lord to Chapter 4, and particularly paragraphs 64, 67 and 70, of the White Paper The Strategic Defence Review (Cm 3999) and also to the Strategic Defence Review's Supporting Essay Five, particularly paragraphs 5, 9, 10 and 14. Copies are available in the Library of the House. The content of the briefing paper to which the noble Lord refers is not a matter for Her Majesty's Government.
Lord Gilbert: In conducting the Strategic Defence Review, the Government concluded that a policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons would be incompatible with our and NATO's doctrine of deterrence, and that it would not further nuclear disarmament. The Strategic Defence Review confirmed that, in addition to its strategic deterrent role, Trident would also perform the sub-strategic nuclear role formerly assigned to RAF Tornado aircraft. A sub-strategic element is an essential component of a nuclear deterrent policy. In extreme circumstances of self defence, a capability for the more limited use of nuclear weapons would allow us to signal to an aggressor that he has miscalculated our resolve, without using the full destructive power that Trident offers. The content of the briefing paper to which the noble Lord refers is not a matter for Her Majesty's Government.
Lord Gilbert: NATO targeted only militarily-related objectives during the recent air campaign against Serbia. There were, however, a few occasions during the campaign when the wrong sites were hit and damaged, and civilian deaths were a regrettable consequence. NATO has been open and honest about these tragic accidents, details of which are already in the public domain.
Lord Gilbert: NATO and Her Majesty's Government have consistently sought Russian participation in the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo and welcome the recently negotiated agreement on Russian participation in KFOR. NATO and Russia have worked together successfully in the past in Bosnia, and we look forward to further co-operation in Kosovo.
Lord Gilbert: The arrangements for Russian participation approved by the North Atlantic Council on 21 June were negotiated between Russian and US representatives in Helsinki. NATO officials were present. These negotiations were preceded by a wide range of discussions about Russia's role in KFOR, both among NATO members and between individual member states and Russia. In addition, discussions took place in theatre between the Commander KFOR and the Commander of the Russian force at Pristina airfield over the arrangements governing the integration of the force. Subsequent consultations between NATO and Russia on Kosovo will be carried out through the Permanent Joint Council. Copies of the agreement on Russia's participation in KFOR will be placed in the Library of the House.
Lord Gilbert: NATO operations in Yugoslavia have been based on collective decisions taken by the North Atlantic Council. SACEUR is responsible for the selection of targets within the authority delegated to him by the Council. Arrangements exist within NATO to ensure that decisions on targeting are consistent and that advice on international law bearing upon such decisions is available and that nations have an opportunity to contribute information relevant to target selection.
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