US Likely To Oppose Biowar Compliance Protocol

From: John Marlow (
Date: Sat May 19 2001 - 23:01:25 MDT

So--biological enhancements will it seems be outlawed for now--and
weapons will not. Three cheers for government.


Paper: U.S. Urged to Pull Back on Germ Warfare Pact Updated 11:25 PM ET May 19, 2001 NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Bush administration review is recommending the United States not support a draft agreement to enforce an international treaty banning biological weapons, Sunday's New York Times reports, quoting an unidentified senior official. In a unanimous review, the paper says the Bush administration interagency team concluded that the current version of the protocol would be inefficient in stopping cheating, and that all its deficiencies could not be remedied by the negotiating deadline. ``The review says that the protocol would not be of much value in catching potential proliferators,'' the paper quoted the senior American official as saying. The Times says the proposal is bound to pose sensitive diplomatic problems and upset allies who back the draft accord and who believe the administration is focusing on new military programs at the expense of treaties and nonproliferation. After six years of negotiations, diplomats in Geneva have produced the draft agreement, known as a protocol, which would establish measures to monitor the ban on biological weapons, and hope to complete the pact by November. A 1972 treaty, which 143 nations have ratified, prohibits the development, production and possession of biological weapons. But the treaty has always lacked a means of verifying compliance. Hungarian diplomat Tibor Toth, who has been overseeing protocol negotiations, will be in Washington next week to see if he can get Bush administration officials to change their mind, the paper said. ``If the world community fails to agree on a protocol to strengthen the ban on biological weapons after six years of talks, it will send a very unfortunate message,'' The Times quotes Toth as saying. President Bush heads to Europe next month, his administration already under fire from allies for steering too unilateralist a course on foreign policy by backing away from the Kyoto accords on global warming and, to a lesser extent, the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty.

John Marlow

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