New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: In his memoirs, Mr Gorbachev makes it absolutely clear that the reason he signed the [INF] treaty was that NATO deployed cruise and, especially, Pershing II missiles, which he greatly feared. Given that this was the most successful example in history of multinational disarmament, as ​opposed to one-sided gestures, it would be a shame to lose the treaty if there were any chance of saving it. Will the Minister use his best endeavours to persuade the Americans to take to an international forum, such as the United Nations, the evidence they have for Russian non-compliance so that the world as a whole can be convinced, if the treaty is being broken, that the Russians are responsible for doing it?

[The Minister for Asia and the Pacific (Mark Field): I thank my right hon. Friend, who has great knowledge of and great interest in these matters. He is absolutely right that there needs to be an evidence-based approach. I have to say that we are confident, and I think all NATO allies have been confident in the discussions that have taken place with our American allies, on this matter. I should also point out, as I did in my initial comments, that the announcement on Saturday 2 February actually triggers a six-month withdrawal process, so there is a chance for Russia to come back to the table and, indeed, as he points out, for all of us to work internationally to try to salvage aspects of this treaty.

Ultimately, to return to the point I made earlier, I would say to my right hon. Friend – as I say, he has a great passion for denuclearisation and for such treaties – that these treaties can only work if they are complied with on all sides. There has been a persistent and consistent sense from Russia, going back many years, that it has not been willing to do so, and that makes such a treaty unsustainable.]