Australia has reconfirmed its commitment to the Biological and
Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), and to current efforts to strengthen
the Convention, at the Fourth Review Conference for the BWC currently
being held in Geneva.
In a statement to the plenary session, Mr John Campbell,
Australia's Ambassador for Disarmament said that "Australia attaches
great value to the Biological Weapons Convention. We regard it as one
of the key international agreements which underpin global security.
The BWC stands alongside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the
Chemical Weapons Convention in providing the basis for the global
legal and political norm against the spread of weapons of mass
Mr Campbell is a Vice Chair of an Ad Hoc Group established under
the BWC which has been working since 1995 on improved compliance and
verification measures for consideration by States Party to the
Convention. Australia is also Western Group Coordinator in the BWC
Mr Campbell emphasised Australia's strong commitment and active
involvement in negotiations in the Ad Hoc Group and hope that these
negotiations will produce effective machinery to verify the
provisions of the BWC, including a mandatory declaration of relevant
facilities and activities; on-site activities to reinforce the
declarations regime, including routine inspections; and rapid and
effective investigations of a compliance concern both at specific
facilities and across a larger geographic area, such as would be
needed to investigate an allegation of use of biological weapons.
Australia took the opportunity to urge all countries outside the
regime to join the BWC as soon as possible. In this regard Mr
Campbell recognised the growing support for the BWC in our region.
"We particularly welcome the rat)fication of the BWC by our close
neighbour, Indonesia, soon after the Third Review Conference - and
the active and constructive contribution it is making to efforts to
strengthen the BWC."
A copy of the Australian statement is