NEWS

UN Official Suggests Formation of a Bioagent Watchdog

By Carlton Purvis

In the existing biological weapons convention, signatories agree that they will not produce or use chemical weapons and that they’ll also try and take measures to make sure no one else does, but one United Nations official says there should also be a global organization keeping an eye on facilities with the ability to manufacture biological weapons.

International agencies exist to monitor states for nuclear (the International Atomic Energy Agency) and chemical weapons (the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), said Piers Millet from the UN's Biological Weapons Convention, but he added that nothing similar exists in regard to potential biological threats.

Millet said these organizations make sure facilities that could make chemical weapons and enrich nuclear material in large amounts are not diverting them for other purposes. Millet made his comments at a forum held in the United Kingdom last week and reported by the BBC.

"The traditional approach of the international community to dealing with weapons is this - they recognize a threat, develop a treaty, and then they turn that treaty into some operational form, normally by trying to control technology associated with it," Millet said.

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