» Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

The PMS said there was an update from the Prime Minister on where we were on nuclear non-proliferation, following President Obama s announcement last week that he would be holding a conference on this subject next March. In advance of that the Government would be publishing a strategy document on this subject on Thursday.

Asked if people should expect any more cuts to the warhead arsenal, the PMS advised people not to get ahead of themselves. What we would be doing on Thursday was setting out in more detail some of the issues, including issues around the existing nuclear powers, access to civil nuclear power for those countries that wanted it and non-proliferation issues relating to the non-nuclear states.

Asked how Trident would fit into that, the PMS said that the position as we had been making clear and as the Prime Minister had said last week and in his speech in February, was that under the right circumstances and part of a multilateral agreement we would be prepared to consider a reduction in our own nuclear warheads, which in any case had fallen quite significantly in the last 10 years or so. However, this was a multilateral position and not a unilateral one and would need to be as part of an international agreement including non-proliferation issues as well. The position on Trident remained as set out in the White Paper from 2007.

Asked if there was some optimism that we were moving towards that multilateral stage, the PMS replied that this was increasingly becoming an issue of international debate, following the US-Russia talks last week and the fact that President Obama had decided to hold a conference on non-proliferation issues meant that this was becoming increasingly part of the international agenda. The PMS advised people not to get ahead of themselves at this point as much of the focus was on how we ensured the non-nuclear countries could get access to civil nuclear power without that leading to a proliferation in the development of nuclear weapons.

Asked if there would be an update on cost estimates for Trident, the PMS said that he would not anticipate any change in the position on Trident or for that issue particularly to be the focus of the paper that we would be publishing on Thursday. There was a serious international debate that was taking place and would need to continue taking place about how we put the right structures in place to ensure that those countries who wanted access to civil nuclear power could do so, without that leading to a proliferation in nuclear weapons.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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