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US rejects biological weapons convention protocol | NCBI - June 2, 2001 |

An interagency team of the Bush administration drawn from the State Department, the Pentagon, the Commerce Department, the Energy Department, and intelligence agencies has completed a critical review of the enforcement protocol of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. The convention, banning the use of biological weapons, was ratified by 143 nations but lacked means of ensuring compliance.

The interagency team reportedly found 38 problems with the protocol, a handful of them serious. It has unanimously concluded that the current version of the protocol would be inefficient in stopping cheating and that not all of its deficiencies could be remedied by the negotiating deadline of November 2001. The 210 page protocol, developed after six years' negotiation, requires signatories to make known their vaccine production facilities, their largest biodefence installations, and facilities that conduct genetic engineering or aerosol studies with germ agents that are likely to be used in weapons. An oversight mechanism for onsite inspections through a new executive council is also part of the protocol.

The White House is expected to endorse the recommendations of its interagency review team. It is unclear what will happen next, because although the review strongly objects to the current version of the protocol, it does not rule out fresh attempts to address monitoring. Pakistan and the People's Republic of China both object to onsite inspections. Iran has been trying to weaken controls on the export of biological equipment and materials, claiming they damage its civilian economies. The United States has worked to limit the scope of visits by foreign inspectors, to protect the trade secrets of American pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The Pentagon objects to inspections of American biodefence installations, which develop vaccines and protective equipment and analyse the threat of biological warfare.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Mar 10th, 2022 at 10:21:18 PM EST
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