GENEVA, November 28. /TASS/. Russia is in favor of resuming work on a legally binding protocol on an effective verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), Gennady Gatilov, Russia's permanent representative to the UN headquarters in Geneva, said on Monday.
"Together with the overwhelming majority of member states, Russia is convinced that the effectiveness of the convention would be greatly improved if a universal, legally binding, non-discriminatory protocol dealing with all articles of the convention with an effective verification mechanism were adopted," Gatilov, who heads the Russian delegation at the 9th BWC Ninth Review Conference, said.
He recalled that "the development of such an instrument, which would ensure reliable implementation of the BWC and prevent its violation, has been unreasonably stymied by the US since 2001." "We are in favor of resuming work on the protocol," the envoy said.
Gatilov stressed that Russia "has introduced and promoted initiatives aimed at the real strengthening and institutionalization of the BWC regime".
In particular, the country has called for a creation of an open-ended working group to prepare measures and proposals for strengthening the convention, the formation within its framework of mobile medical and biological groups to assist in the use of biological weapons and help fight epidemics of various origin, that is, a mechanism to conduct investigations into alleged violations of obligations under the BWC. It also included the establishment of a scientific advisory committee to analyze scientific and technical developments relevant to the convention and to make recommendations to the states parties. The CSTO, CIS and SCO countries supported these proposals. According to Gatilov, Russia noted the importance of improving the BWC's confidence-building measures, including by introducing the mechanism of reporting forms on the military and biological activities of participating states abroad in order to address the remaining relevant issues.
The conference that kicked off on Monday in Geneva will review in the next three weeks the implementation of the BWC and develop draft decisions and recommendations for its further universalization. The convention entered into force in 1975. The lack of a verification mechanism limits the effectiveness of its implementation. There are currently 184 States parties to the BWC.