BTWC and big powers

Written by The Frontier Post

The Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) held in Minsk on Thursday during which the top Diplomats of the member states said that the CIS member states opposed the creation of a mechanism that would duplicate the functions of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) bypassing the UN Security Council. The meeting called for the creation of a structural unit in the UN Secretariat to conduct investigations of the alleged use of biological weapons. The CIS member states expressed regret that over the past 20 years, the BTWC member states have not been able to reach agreement on the resumption of multilateral negotiations on the development of a protocol to the convention, suspended in 2001. According to details, the meeting identified the dual use areas of science and technology as increased risk of biological agents being used as weapons. The CIS member nations called for continuation of joint efforts leading to the achievement of the goal of strengthening the Convention on a credible, legally binding basis.

The Council of Independent States (CIS) is a nine-member regional alliance, which was formed by the member states of former Soviet Union after dissolution of Ex. USSR in 1991. The CIS member states include Belarus, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armina, Moldova, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is an important forum, which steers and coordinates the foreign policy of the member states including their activities through international organizations and consultation with family members. The CIS forum works to protect the interests of member states at international level, however its policies are largely influenced by the Russian Federation. The issue of non-abidance of international convention on biological weapons was raised by the Russian Federation and China during the meeting of the First Committee of the UNGA in recent days. The representatives of the Russia and China collectively highlighted the issue during the meeting that more than 200 American biological laboratories are located outside the United States and operate in an opaque, non-transparent manner and raise serious concerns and questions from the international community about whether this is in line with the Convention on Biological weapons. The two countries also raised similar objections on the biological activities of the United States on its soil.

In fact, biological and toxic weapons are a serious threat to humanity as well as other natural creatures including animals, birds, and plants on the earth because biological weapons disseminate disease-causing organisms or toxins to harm or kills human beings and other living creatures and this destruction could not be confined to a limited area or national boundary rather spread widely across the world. The international biological convention was adopted in April 1972 by 183 countries and was enforced from 26 March 1975. However, after several meeting of the member states to the convention could not reached to a comprehensive control regime of the BWC over the last four and a half decades, mainly due to the United States and Russian refusal to a mechanism for verification of the declaration through on-the-spot inspections, checking or experts visit to the facilities. Therefore, there is an urgent need that the big powers must end their egoistic approach and hold the BWC in its true spirit instead of peddling blame games against each other.

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