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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters in respect of (a) Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, (b) Israel’s policy on signing the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and (c) the imprisonment of Mordecai Vanunu he raised with (i) Prime Minister Sharon and (ii) members of his delegation during his visit to London in July. [126308]
Mr. Rammell: The priority for the visit was to discuss Road Map implementation and bilateral relations.
We do however consistently urge Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non nuclear weapons state, and to sign a full-scope safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), most recently during official-level talks in Tel Aviv on 5 March. Under the agreement with IAEA, Israel’s nuclear facilities would be subject to regular inspection to detect and eliminate any diversion of nuclear materials for weapons production. The UK has consistently supported UN Resolutions calling for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction. That zone would include Israel.

Aircraft Carrier Programme
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the estimated cost of the aircraft carrier programme. [126807]
Mr. Ingram: Our estimate for the cost of the demonstration and manufacture contract is around £3 billion. These cost estimates will be further refined during the remainder of the Assessment Phase.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to use the Eurofighter Typhoon on the new aircraft carriers. [126808]
Mr. Caplin: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces gave on 20 May 2003 Official Report.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the (a) tactical and (b) strategic implications are of building two aircraft carriers each with a capability of carrying 20 aircraft instead of the 48 originally specified; [126969]
(2) what the implications would be for UK plans to acquire the future Joint Strike Fighter, if the specifications of the two projected fleet aircraft carriers are downgraded; [126974]
(3) what changes he estimates to the in-service dates of (a) the first and (b) the second future fleet aircraft carrier, if the projected cost of the ships rises to £4 billion. [126977]
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is not considering any proposals to build two Future Aircraft Carriers capable of carrying only 20 aircraft.
The Future Aircraft Carrier programme is currently midway through its Assessment Phase. This phase is intended to reduce risk in emerging design solutions and balance the key parameters of performance, time and cost in order to best meet our developing capability requirements, both in terms of the ships themselves and in the aircraft they will operate. The current forecast cost estimate for the Demonstration and Manufacture (D&M) contract is around £3 billion. Our target In-Service Dates for the two carriers remain 2012 and 2015 respectively and these will be confirmed prior to the award of the D&M contract, currently planned for Spring 2004.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make it his policy to rule out the acquisition of smaller aircraft carriers than the two fleet aircraft carriers originally specified; [126970]
(2) what plans he has to ensure that the two projected fleet aircraft carriers are built in accordance with their original specifications. [126981]
Mr. Ingram: In the Strategic Defence Review published in 1998, it was envisaged that the two new Future Aircraft Carriers would be in the order of 30,000-40,000 tonnes and be capable of carrying up to 50 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The intention, as with any other new eq

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