Address
Ellen Tauscher
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Address to the Annual Meeting of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention
Geneva, Switzerland
December 9, 2009


AP Soundbite from address to the Annual Meeting of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva.

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Under Secretary Tauscher: "The Obama administration will not seek to revive negotiations on a verification protocol to the Convention. We have carefully reviewed previous efforts to develop a verification protocol and have determined that a legally binding protocol would not achieve meaningful verification or greater security. It is extraordinarily difficult to verify compliance. The ease with which a biological weapons program could be disguised within legitimate activities, and the rapid advances in biological research make it very difficult to detect violations. We believe that a protocol would not be able to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of the biological weapons threat....

"In order to implement our article ten commitments, it is critical that we work together to achieve, sustain and improve international capacity to detect, report and respond to outbreaks of disease, whether deliberate, accidental or natural. This includes implementation of the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations. Fundamentally, if we improve a country's ability to respond to natural outbreaks, we have improved their capability to deal with bioterrorism." Full Text