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Lord Judd: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for that most helpful reply. Does he agree that, as the expansion of NATO goes forward, the importance of such meetings cannot be overemphasised if we are to build positive relationships with Russia?
In view of the various elements in sound security policy, can my noble friend the Minister say anything more to the House about what was discussed with the Russians on the matter of arms control, on the issue of nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism and on the proliferation of means of delivery of nuclear, biological and chemical capability? Can my noble friend also tell the House whether there was an opportunity to discuss the important issue of defence conversion in Russia, in view of the alarming social and economic significance of the defence industry in that country?
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, can the Minister tell us how far Her Majesty's Government see the NATO-Russia dialogue developing? Many half promises were made during the first six months of this year. Russia is to have permanent representation in NATO, and NATO is to have permanent representation in Moscow. Do we see ourselves moving towards a situation where Russia becomes, in effect, a half member of NATO within the next 10 to 15 years?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, 10 or 15 years is a long time. At present there are no plans and no requests for Russia to join NATO. The arrangements with Russia are entirely separate from the NATO structure and entirely different from the whole process of enlargement of NATO. The noble Lord is absolutely right: the total approach to security in Europe and beyond requires not only the strengthening of NATO but also the strengthening and the institutionalisation of the arrangements with Russia. That is what the NATO/Russia agreement is about.
Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, what discussions have taken place in the joint council on Russia's relationships with the republics of the former Soviet Union given the challenge posed by the rising tide of Islam in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan and Turkmenistan and by the Taleban movement in Afghanistan? What co-operation should there be between these countries and NATO to help resolve these tensions?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, as regards the terms mentioned by the noble Baroness, those discussions have not taken place. However, there is the intention that relations between NATO and the central Asian republics should be improved, and indeed any stability in the NATO/Russia situation would help in the relationships with the central Asian republics.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, I think I implied that any prospect of Russia joining NATO was rather a long way off. The point of the enlargement of NATO, and of bringing in central and eastern European countries to either membership or a relationship with NATO, is to provide security and stability for the whole of the European area and to provide a combined European approach to military problems in general. As compared
The Earl of Carlisle: My Lords, will the Minister assure us that at the next December meeting of the joint council Her Majesty's Government will invite the Russian Federation to sign a negotiated border treaty with Estonia? Will Her Majesty's Government also point out that the eastern European nations have no desire to join a Russian security organisation and that any pressure on those nations, in particular the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will be regarded as counter productive?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, the views of the central and eastern European states, in particular the Baltic states, are well known to Russia and to the west. We respect those positions. As regards the agenda of the December meeting, I have already said that it is yet to be finalised, but some of these issues will undoubtedly be touched on.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, I do not accept the terms outlined by the noble Lord. Clearly the original purpose of NATO has changed. NATO's role now is to ensure the survival of us all in a more stable world. As I said earlier, the end of the Cold War period has now been replaced by a situation where NATO can bring in the countries of both eastern and western Europe and engage in a more stable relationship with Russia and other peripheral areas of the European continent.
Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I am grateful for the Minister's kindly remark. Will he not go a little further and accept that to allow a hostel of this kind, with the proven record that it has, simply to disappear for lack of support would make no sense at all? It would mean that a number of young people early in their lives would simply drift into the penal system. That would be a disaster for them and a huge and continuing cost for the state. I very much hope that the noble Lord will take an early opportunity to remind the Treasury that this so-called economy would result in a huge and continuing cost for the state.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, as so often on these occasions, the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil, as far as I am concerned--I say nothing in parenthesis about the Treasury--is pushing at an open door in principle. Apart from the grant of £20,000, which is not negligible, the Department of Health, as I think the noble Lord will know, has given Turning Point a one-off grant of £50,000 for this financial year. That is to ensure that it continues to run Lorne House. Turning Point intends to review its operation and its structure but has not yet reported its conclusions. I dare say that your Lordships would unanimously agree that for us to make any commitment before that review is concluded would not be prudent.
Lord Molloy: My Lords, in addition to the remarkable submission made by the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, with regard to this remarkable establishment, will my noble friend consider that the whole medical profession would urge Lorne House to be created if it did not already exist? Will my noble friend not lightly disband Lorne House but ensure that it can continue to carry out the remarkable work that it is undertaking?
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I thought I had given an indication that the Government value the work of Lorne House. It is a unique establishment. It deals with addicts of drink, solvents and other drugs from the ages of 15 to 25. Of course we value its work. As I have indicated, we have demonstrated that value by a grant of £50,000 to Turning Point which is the parent organisation of Lorne House.
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