Biological Weapons International Agreements

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An Effective Killer: Five Things You Need to Know About Chemical Weapons, nTI has developed interactive educational tools for anyone who wants to know more about the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Iraq ratified the BwC in 1991 as a condition of the ceasefire agreement to end the Persian Gulf War. Although Iraq claims to have ended its biological weapons program in 1991, it is generally accepted that Iraq maintained the program throughout the 1990s. These beliefs are supported by Iraqi efforts to hide their programme from UNSCOM inspectors. In 1998, Iraq suspended its cooperation with UNSCOM and left many issues unresolved. The group was dissolved and replaced by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNCOVINU). In 2002, the United States and the United Kingdom published detailed reports on non-compliance with Iraqi rules and accused Iraq of using dual-use facilities and mobile laboratories to continue its work on biological weapons. On 8 November 2002, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1441 calling on Iraq to grant unrestricted access to UNCOVINU inspectors. Inspections resumed on November 27. In the current part, it is clear that Iraq has not disclosed to UNCOVINU many details of its biological weapons program.

The conference was marked by a large number of proposals to address the threat of biological weapons, including bioterrorism. The proposals were different in their approach to strengthening the Convention and covered: the Biological Weapons Convention (BTWC), the first multilateral disarmament treaty prohibiting the development, production and storage of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, was opened for signature on 10 April 1972. The BTWC came into force on 26 March 1975. Iraq`s non-compliance with the BTWC is well documented because of an international process established after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. UN Security Council Resolution 687 ended the war and launched an important disarmament process. The resolution obliged Iraq to declare all its weapons of mass destruction and ordered their destruction. The UN Security Council has set up a special body, UNSCOM, to carry out inspections and destruction of Iraq`s chemical, biological and missile capabilities. UNSCOM worked from 1991 to 1998 and uncovered the Iraqi BW programme, which dates back to the early 1970s. Supporters of the BWC argue that the treaty provides an international standard for the international community that makes it clear to all that biological weapons are illegitimate tools of state or war art. Therefore, if violations are found, it will be easier to mobilize the international community to press for the insulting regime to give up arms so that it does not face military, economic and diplomatic sanctions.