The Negotiation of
the BTWC Protocol
As we saw in Chapter 3, the mandate given to the Ad Hoc Group (AHG) was complex, and it was recognized by the 1994 Special Conference that reaching a satisfactory agreement would not be straightforward. 1 A further level of complexity was due to the negotiations being genuinely multilateral. There are over 140 States Parties to the BTWC and it is clear, from the Procedural Reports 2 of the AHG, that at least one-third of them were regularly represented at the meetings of the AHG right from the start of the negotiations (Table 5.1).
Analysis of the early stages of negotiation also demonstrates that, despite the predominance of two States Parties (South Africa and the UK), a wide range of the participants produced working papers on particular aspects of the issues confronting the negotiators (Table 5.2). Notwithstanding a tendency for various groups of states to craft common positions on issues of concern, with so many active participants the achievement of a final agreement is obviously more difficult than in a bilateral negotiation. Furthermore, the required mode of operation is that a consensus has to be reached, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. In such circumstances, complex compromises have to be reached across a range of issues and there is plenty of opportunity for intended or unintended delay of the process.
A final difficulty in these negotiations is also apparent from analyses of the early stages of the negotiations. 3 The various States Parties had vastly different resources – as measured by the size of their delegations to contribute to the AHG meetings. At the twelfth session in the autumn of 1998, for example, the delegation listed for the United States totalled 21 people. Other states had smaller delegations, and most had much smaller levels of representation (Table 5.3). Moreover, quite unlike the situation in many other arms control negotiations, there were very