§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much expenditure he has incurred in the(a) dismantling, (b) management and (c) verification of (i) chemical and (ii) biological weapons in the states of the former Soviet Union since 1996. 475W
§ Mr. Hoon
As part of Spending Review 2000, the Government decided to make available up to £12 million over the three years 2001–02 to 2003–04 for assistance to Russia with chemical weapon demilitarisation and biological non-proliferation projects. We have given priority to assistance with chemical weapons destruction, where we plan to support the provision of infrastructure which is needed for the construction and operation of the major chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuch'ye. An essential pre-requisite to allow this work to proceed was negotiation of a legally-binding agreement with the Russian Federation. Following extensive negotiations, I signed the agreement in London on 20 December on behalf of the Government. Dr. Pak, Director-General of the Russian Munitions Agency, signed on behalf of the Russian Federation. We hope to conclude negotiations shortly on the necessary Implementation Arrangement which will allow our first project to proceed in the near future, subject to agreement of contract. Our first project will be to provide a water supply for the destruction facility, which will also benefit the local population. As a result of the need first to complete these sets of negotiations, it has not yet been possible to start implementation of assistance projects. Expenditure of some £250K has been incurred to date on setting up the assistance programme.
Verification of the destruction of chemical weapons in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention is the responsibility of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in the Hague. There are no agreed provisions for the verification of biological weapons.
The Ministry of Defence monitors the biological and chemical weapons capabilities of all relevant states. The costs of such monitoring in relation to the states of the former Soviet Union can not be separately identified.