Bucharest, 9 October 2011 – LAWMAKERS URGE NATO TO STEP UP EFFORTS AGAINST GROWING THREAT FROM CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS
Legislators from across the NATO Alliance on Sunday urged allied governments to step up efforts against the threat of biological and chemical weapons, warning that there is a growing danger that terrorists could acquire and use such arms to devastating effect.
"There is always a race between those who want to do us harm and those of us who search for technological means to thwart such terrorist acts. We as politicians must make sure that we stay ahead," said US Congressman David Scott, who authored a draft resolution for the annual session of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly.
The draft adopted by the Assembly’s Science and Technology Committee calls on NATO governments to invest in detection technology, counter-measures and protection of critical infrastructure from biological and chemical threats.
On Monday, the resolution is expected to be approved by the full Assembly which comprises over 250 parliamentarians from the 28 NATO nations. The annual plenary session will be attended by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Scott said governments should not allow the current budgetary restraints to undermine defenses against biological and chemical weapons. "Biological and chemical weapons are a significant and evolving threat and we must remain vigilant and we must be strong against these terrorist threats to humankind," he told the Committee.
The draft resolution urges NATO governments to strengthen arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, particularly at a review conference of the international Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention starting Dec. 5 in Geneva. "This is our most urgent opportunity to update a control regime for biological and chemical weapons and it should be and must be stronger," Scott said of the conference which is held every five years.
NATO lawmakers urged their governments to press all nations to sign up to international conventions on biological and chemical weapons. The resolution also called on the four nations with declared chemical weapons - the United States, Russia, Iraq and Libya - to complete the destruction of their stockpiles in a timely and responsible manner.
Non-declared biological and chemical weapons states should cease their programmes and declare any weapons holdings, the resolution said.