MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. The US delegation’s head refused to respond to Russia’s accusations concerning violations of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) on the sidelines of the 9th Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva, Chief of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Force Igor Kirillov said on Saturday.
"Head of the US delegation Kenneth Ward refused to respond to Russia’s accusations concerning BTWC violations," he said, adding that the US official justified his refusal by saying that Russia doesn’t want to hear his answers about bio laboratories in Ukraine.
According to Kirillov, Washington has something to hide and its refusal to respond to the accusations and its blocking of initiatives to resume work on the convention’s verification mechanism only further prove that. "The United States is not interested in the transparency of the convention implementation," he stressed.
He noted that the US delegates had reacted particularly sensitively to proposals to seal in the final document the facts of violations by Washington and Kiev of their obligations under the BTWC and the fact that they engaged in military-biological activities in Ukraine.
The US government has blocked the attempts to carry out mutual verification procedures under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention after Russian experts visited a lab of the American Pfizer pharmaceutical giant, Igor Kirillov said. In the early 1990s, Russia agreed under the BTWC verification procedures to open up non-military labs for US and UK officials on a reciprocal basis, he specified.
"In compliance with the accords, a group of Russian experts carried out inspections of companies within the Pfizer pharmaceutical giant, with inspection notices sent 48 hours in advance. These visits caused an extremely negative reaction from American pharmaceutical producers. Under the pretext that the inspections endangered the interests of business and intellectual property, all further attempts to implement verification procedures were blocked by the US government," the defense official said.
The United States’ attempts at ‘adjusting’ the BTWC to suit its own interests have led to the failure of efforts to reach principal agreements on the strengthening of the regime of nonproliferation of such weapons, Kirillov said. The Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention was held in Geneva from November 28 through December 16, 2022.
"Looking back at the conference’s results, I would like to note that the United States’ and its allies’ attempts to ‘tweak’ the convention to suit their own interests resulted in a failure to reach any principal agreements on strengthening the convention’s regime. Moreover, the final document was adopted without a final declaration. Key initiatives advanced by Russia, China and other states were blocked by Western delegations as ‘irrelevant’ or ‘under-developed,’" he said.
According to Kirillov, the conference exposed profound contradictions on issues of the convention’s implementation due to the United States’ actions. "The conference revealed deep gaps on issues of the convention’s implementation, made even wider by the US’ aspirations for global dominance, which are enshrined by the White House in documents on strategic planning in the area of biosecurity," he added.
The US and its allies try to keep quiet on the subject of military biological research that’s uncomfortable for the West, Chief of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Force Lieutenant General said.
"The ninth review conference has received extremely little coverage in Western news media, which ignored not only statements made by member states, but also the fact that the international forum took place. We regard it as an attempt by the US and its allies to keep silent about the subject of military biological research that’s uncomfortable for the West, leave room for maneuver and again block the initiatives to fortify the regime of non-proliferation of biological weapons," he said.