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1996 - PMQT Written Answers 22nd April 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 22nd April 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Sexual Exploitation of Children Congress

Mr. Cox: To ask the Prime Minister which Minister will attend the world congress against commercial sexual exploitation of children in Stockholm in August; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: The congress will be attended by the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East (Mr. Kirkhope).


Nuclear Safety and Security Summit

Sir Anthony Durant: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the outcome of the nuclear safety and security summit in Moscow.

The Prime Minister: I attended the Moscow summit on nuclear safety and security on 19 and 20 April. I have arranged for copies of the declaration and background documents to be placed in the Library of the House. The summit was chaired jointly by President Yeltsin and by President Chirac as the current chairman of the Group of Seven. Other G7 leaders attended, as did President Kuchma of Ukraine for the later part of the summit.

There was unanimous agreement at the summit on the priority that needs to be given to ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants and the security of nuclear materials. We agreed that the convention on nuclear safety must be ratified and brought into force as soon as possible; the United Kingdom has already ratified the convention.

At the same time, the summit endorsed the importance of market-oriented reforms in the energy sector, and the contribution this can make to nuclear safety. Investment strategies should be based on least-cost planning, and energy efficiency and conservation have an important role to play.

We also agreed on the need to work for the early adoption of a convention on the safety of radioactive waste management, which is currently under negotiation. The disposal of radioactive waste at sea is prohibited under the 1993 amendment to the London convention, which the UK and most other countries have accepted; at the summit, Russia gave a firm commitment to accept the amendment. We agreed to work together to identify strategies for the safe management and eventual disposal of fissile material no longer required for defence purposes.

President Kuchma attended the summit for the discussion on Chernobyl. We welcomed his decision to close Chernobyl by the year 2000 in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed between the G7 and the Ukraine last year, and we confirmed our commitment to implement the memorandum.

The summit also discussed the need to prevent any illicit trafficking in nuclear materials. We agreed on a programme to combat any such trafficking, and to increase co-operation to ensure the safe storage and protection of nuclear materials. Existing co-ordination between national agencies will be enhanced.

The countries at the summit also committed themselves to conclude and sign a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty by September 1996.

The summit also provided a timely opportunity to discuss the main international issues, particularly Lebanon and Bosnia. On Lebanon, we agreed on the need for an immediate ceasefire and a political solution to end the present crisis and enable the wider peace process to resume. We endorsed current diplomatic efforts to bring this about. On Bosnia, we agreed that the deployment of the implementation force and implementation of the military part of the Dayton agreement had gone well, but that more rapid progress was needed on key issues such as elections, reconstruction and the return of refugees.

Before the summit, I visited Prague and Kiev for discussions with the Governments of the Czech Republic and Ukraine. In Moscow I had meetings with President Yeltsin, Prime Minister Chernomydin and others. I also took the opportunity to have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Chretien and President Clinton and to discuss our problems with the European Union over beef exports informally with the other EU leaders present.

In sum, therefore, the Moscow summit made a major contribution to nuclear safety, through agreements reached and endorsed. It was also an invaluable occasion to take forward other significant issues informally with my fellow Heads of State and Governments, and to reinforce links with them. It was a success on all counts.


Monarchy

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister if he will introduce a measure to abolish the monarchy.

The Prime Minister: No.


Libya

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister what response Her Majesty's Government are suggesting to the United Nations as a reply to the initiative to the United Nations from Libya to send an inspection team to the alleged chemical weapons site at Rabta in the Libyan desert; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: We believe that if Libya seriously wishes to dispel concerns about chemical weapons activities at this or any other site, she should accede to and comply fully with the provisions of the chemical weapons convention.