STATEMENT BY THE UNITED STATES
TO THE AD HOC GROUP OF
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION* STATES PARTIES
July 25, 2001
Mr. Chairman, Colleagues:
I take the floor today after twenty-three sessions of the Ad Hoc Group, spanning some six and a half years of negotiation trying to develop a legally-binding document to enhance confidence in compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention. The relevance of our objective has not diminished over those years. Everyone should understand the importance the United States places on the Biological Weapons Convention and the global ban on biological weapons it establishes.
No nation is more committed than the United States to combating the BW threat. This is a threat we face not only at home but also abroad. Our forces and our friends and allies may well be the victims of this weapon of terror and blackmail. We must counter this complex and dangerous threat with a full range of effective instruments – nonproliferation, export controls, domestic preparedness, and counterproliferation. We are firmly committed to combat the spread of biological weapons.
After years of arduous negotiation, with the sterling work of numerous friends of the chair to facilitate discussions about specific issues, this group had gone as far as that technique would permit in resolving individual issues and questions along the model set forth in the original rolling text in 1997. You, Mr. Chairman, then undertook the challenging and onerous task of proposing a set of mutual compromises, based on that rolling text, as a potential way to bring the negotiations to closure in a short period. The United States congratulates you on the effort you have made to resolve very contentious issues.
The United States has subjected the ‘Composite Text’ proposal to detailed scrutiny. As every veteran of these negotiations will recall, the United States has had serious issues with both individual proposals and the general approach to some issues throughout these negotiations. Those concerns and requirements have not changed – indeed, they remain one of the consistent criteria against which the United States has evaluated this text.
In addition to the text, we have looked at the overall issue of biological weapons threat. Our approach for doing so is comprehensive, and includes new, affirmative ideas for strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention. We believe we can strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention through multilateral arrangements. To be valuable, however, we believe any approach must focus on effective innovative measures.____________________