§ 6. Mr. David Atkinson (Bournemouth, East)
What recent discussions he has had with his Russian counterpart on European missile defence. 
§ The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon)
I have had no recent discussions with my Russian counterpart on European missile defence, but we regularly discuss ballistic missile defence during other consultations with the Russian Federation, and there has in recent months been discussion between NATO and Russia on the scope for co-operation on theatre missile defence and related issues. We want that dialogue to continue.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Does the Minister recall the offer that President Putin made to President Clinton last June for Russia to help to put in place a missile defence system for Europe? Did the Prime Minister discuss that offer with President Putin during his meetings with him in Moscow last week? Can he tell the House the nature and the source of the threat to Europe that could have motivated President Putin to make the offer in the first place?
§ Mr. Hoon
It is right to say that Russia has presented, at least in outline, a number of proposals on co-operation 623 on ballistic missile defence involving Russia and NATO; it is however fair to say that the Russians have not yet set out any specific details of those proposals. When they do—we have encouraged them to do so—we and our NATO allies will consider them carefully, as the House would expect.
§ Mr. Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen, North)
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the new United States Administration—whoever eventually wins—should take full account of both Russian and European concerns before taking any decision on national missile defence, and that they should pay heed to the report by our own Select Committee on Foreign Affairs?