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Russian UN envoy explains importance of convention to fight chemical terrorism

August 23, 20:18 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
According to Vitaly Churkin, there has been evidence terrorists have access to chemical weapons production technologies and infrastructures
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Vitaly Churkin

Vitaly Churkin

© EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT

UNITED NATIONS, August 23. /TASS/. The capability of the Islamic State (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) to produce chemical weapons underscores the timeliness of the Russian initiative to draft an international convention on the struggle against acts of chemical and biological terrorism, Russia’s Ambassador to UN Vitaly Churkin told a session of the UN Security Council.

He drew attention to repeated reports that IS militants and other groups had used industrial chemicals or even chemical warfare agents.

"There has been evidence terrorists have access to chemical weapons production technologies and infrastructures," Churkin said. "The availability of chemical weapons production facilities to the Islamic State and the risk of its proliferation about the whole region of the Middle East is a tangible argument illustrating the timeliness of the Russian initiative to draft international convention in the struggle against acts of chemical and biological terrorism," he emphasized.

According to him, "the threat of chemical and biological terrorism is assuming an increasingly cross-border nature and the task of intensifying struggle against acts of terrorism is so high that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540 aimed at preventing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons from falling into the hands of non-state actors has become insufficient. "It is obvious that the classical understanding of notions like arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation have been eroded step-by-step … assuming a new counter-terrorism measurement," the Russian diplomat explained.

Russia’s proposal

Churkin said that Russia had suggested drafting a convention on struggle against acts of chemical and biological terrorism at the U.N. Disarmament Conference in Geneva in March this year.

The convention could co-opt the experience, which the world community has accumulated in recent years, Churkin said. "It is necessary for the convention to fix a provision of criminalizing actions, which fall under its jurisdiction; to define jurisdictions, ensure a proper level of legal response; implement the principle of ‘either extradite or put to trial’, etc," Churkin stressed.

The United Nations Security Council held open debates on Tuesday on how to prevent the WMD from getting into the hands of non-state actors. Churkin said that modern architecture of global non-proliferation rested on three main principles: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons.

"Russia actively participates in all the three," the Russian diplomat said.

He noted that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540, which was currently being reviewed, formed another foundation of the non-proliferation regime. Russia has been skeptical about the proposal of other Security Council members to increase the resolution’s counter-terrorism orientation. Churkin said there was no need to speed up the discussion artificially and called for improving the resolution within the framework of the existing mandate, which should not be radically reviewed.

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