Ministry of Defence
219/98 September 2, 1998


Defence Secretary George Robertson announced today that the UK has
told the Government of the Russian Federation that we will in future
give five days notice to Russia of any British Trident missile test
firing. This compares with the 24 hours notice that has previously
been given.

This step reflects the Strategic Defence Review's conclusions on
developing defence diplomacy and greater transparency on nuclear
matters. It is also in line with the announcement today by Presidents
Clinton and Yeltsin on the exchange of early warning information on
missile launches and the establishment of a voluntary, multilateral
regime for prior notification of all planned launches of ballistic
missiles and space vehicles.

George Robertson said:

"This move by the UK is a further demonstration of the Government's
intention to continue to lead on moves to promote nuclear stability
and confidence building to help pave the way for further nuclear

"We strongly support the initiatives announced today by the United
States and Russia, and look forward to taking part in discussions on
a multilateral ballistic missile launch notification regime as a
means of increasing stability worldwide. We would be prepared to
make available prior information on UK Trident firings as part of an
internationally agreed regime."