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19. Chemical and biological arms control




In 1994 steady progress was made towards implementation of the Chemical Weapons
Convention, although the pace was slower than originally expected. Only
19 states had ratified the CWC by 31 December 1994, making it
impossible for the Convention to enter into force on 13 January 1995. The
Preparatory Commission for the CWC continued work on procedures related to
declarations and verification. The national implementation experiences of
states which have ratified the CWC have shown that establishing the legal and
organizational framework is more time-consuming and expensive than expected.
The 1994 regional seminars provided information about the national preparations
in several signatory states. In 1995 significantly more states are expected to
ratify the CWC.

The parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) are increasingly
interested in strengthening it by legally binding measures, and a relatively
large number of states participated in a Special Conference held in September
1994 to evaluate the report submitted by the Ad Hoc Group of
Governmental Experts to identify and examine potential verification measures
from a scientific and technical standpoint (VEREX). Opinions vary about the
feasibility of verification measures and their value in increasing confidence
in the BWC. The Special Conference established an Ad Hoc Group, open to
all states parties to consider a variety of measures to strengthen the BWC. The
Group first met in January 1995 and will hold two more meetings in 1995.

In 1994 the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) continued its
activities in Iraq to fulfil its mandated obligations, and the destruction of
all CW and chemical agents was completed. UNSCOM does not expect that any
single element of its system to monitor Iraq's compliance with its obligations
not to reacquire proscribed weapons will, operated in isolation, provide
sufficient assurance that a clandestine proscribed programme would be quickly
detected. However, the system is designed, as a multi-layered whole, to provide
such assurance. UNSCOM will continue to develop and evaluate the system in the
early months of 1995. Depending on the level of Iraqi cooperation, UNSCOM
should be able to judge the effectiveness of the system soon after all its
components are in place.