§ Mr. Douglas
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will detail the Government's current position in relation to the United Nations convention on the law of the sea, in particular whether it is proposed to sign the convention on or before 9 December; and what is the Government's policy towards the United States' overtures relating to a mini treaty of industrial nations.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Our policy towards the convention is being reviewed at present. British companies were encouraged to come to arrangements with other pioneers in deep seabed mining in order to avoid the possibility of overlaps of deep seabed sites. We have always recognised the need to ensure on a governmental level the results of the companies agreement and pursued discussions with other interested states. The result of these discussions is an agreement called a Provisional Understanding on Deep Seabed Matters which was signed on 3 August.
§ Mr. Craigen
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is undertaking a ministerial review of Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the United Nations convention on the law of the sea; and if he will list the benefits and disadvantages to the United Kingdom of remaining a non-signatory to the convention.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Our policy towards the convention is being reviewed at present and the benefits and disadvantages of the convention are being considered.