§ Mr. Waldegrave
My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence hosted a ministerial council meeting of the WEU in London on 14 November. The major event of that occasion was signature of a protocol for the accession of Portugal and Spain to the modified Brussels treaty 1954. These two countries will become full members of WEU once ratification procedures are complete. A satisfactory outcome to the enlargement negotiations with Portugal and Spain was one of the main priorities for our Presidency, and its early attainment is most satisfactory.709W
A further priority was to develop the WEU as a forum for co-ordinating European approaches to out of area issues. The ministerial council noted with approval the success of the joint naval activities in the Gulf, particularly the mine-sweeping operation Cleansweep, as a concrete example of the work being done by WEU in defence co-operation.
Our other main priorities—to elaborate on the commitments in the Hague platform on European security interests, and to use WEU as a forum for frank discussion of key European security issues—have also been pursued energetically. The ministerial council considered a report on implementation of the platform and endorsed further work on its elaboration, which will continue over the next six months. Ministers also took note of a report on progress made in fulfilling the mandate on arms control and defence requirements given by WEU Ministers at their meeting in the Hague in April 1988.