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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 47, June 2000

Geneva Protocol Anniversary
US Statement

'Statement by the President,' The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, June 17, 2000.

"Seventy-five years ago today, June 17, 1925, the international community took a major step toward protecting the world from the dangers of weapons of mass destruction by concluding the Geneva Protocol of 1925. In the aftermath of the terrible casualties caused by poison gas in World War I, the Geneva Protocol banned the use in war of chemical and biological weapons.

More recently, the international community has worked to build on this achievement. The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) banned the development, production and possession of biological and toxin weapons, and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) did the same for chemical weapons. Today, 135 countries are parties to the CWC, and 143 are parties to the BWC. The United States has ratified both agreements, and our commitment to them has enjoyed strong bipartisan support.

Today, one of the greatest threats to American and global security is the danger that adversary nations or terrorist groups will obtain and use chemical or biological weapons. The international agreements we have reached banning these weapons are a critical component of our effort to protect against this threat.

In my 1998 State of the Union address, I called on the international community to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention with a new international inspection system to help detect and deter cheating. Significant progress has been made in Geneva at the Ad Hoc Group of BWC States Parties toward achieving this goal. We urge all participants in this process to work toward the earliest possible conclusion of a BWC Protocol that will further strengthen international security.

On this 75th anniversary of the Geneva Protocol, I call on the countries of the world who have not yet done so to join the Geneva Protocol, CWC and BWC. I call on all parties to strictly adhere to these agreements and to work to strengthen them. It is more urgent than ever that, true to the words of the Geneva Protocol, their prohibitions 'shall be universally accepted...binding alike the conscience and the practice of nations.'"

Russia Statement

Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 580-21-6-2000, June 21, 2000.

"On June 17, which marked the 75th anniversary of the signing of the 1925 Geneva Protocol which banned the use of poison gases and bacteriological means, President Putin of the Russian Federation issued a statement to the effect that Russia steadfastly adheres to the provisions and principles of the Geneva Protocol and the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons whose 25th anniversary was also marked this year. The statement also stresses that on May 22, 2000, a draft federal law was introduced at the State Duma that would cancel the reservations to the Geneva Protocol the USSR made in 1928. Thereby the Russian President reaffirmed the commitment of Russia to strictly honoring the spirit and the letter of the two key international agreements which ban a most dangerous type of mass destruction weapon, the biological weapon.

The statement of the Russian President says that Russia for its part counts on strict compliance with these agreements by other signatory states, and notes the active role Russia is playing in the negotiations to work out a protocol to the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons that would create a mechanism for monitoring compliance therewith."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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