§ Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors led the United Kingdom not to become party to the recent NATO agreement to develop co-operatively a medium extended air defence system; and if he will make a statement.720W
§ Mr. Freeman
A quadrilateral statement of intent on MEADS was recently agreed by France, Germany, Italy and the USA. We are currently reviewing the nature and timing of our requirement for a future medium surface-to-air missile, in parallel with studies into ballistic missile defence options. At this stage it would be premature to commit ourselves to meeting any such requirements through the MEADS programme, although we are keeping in close touch with its progress.