Unofficial translation STATEMENT BY H.E. AMBASSADOR ANATOLY ANTONOV HEAD OF THE DELEGATION OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT FOR SECURITY AFFAIRS AND DISARMAMENT, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AT THE MEETING OF EXPERTS OF THE STATES PARTIES TO THE BIOLOGICAL AND TOXIN WEAPONS CONVENTION GENEVA, 20 AUGUST 2007 1 Mr Chairman, Allow me to welcome you in the chair of this meeting. I trust that the BWC meetings in 2007 will be as productive as was successful the Sixth Review Conference under your presidency last year. I assure you of full cooperation and support of the Russian delegation. Today we embark upon a new five-year review cycle. We hope that it will be successful and allow us to find ways to further strengthen the Convention. This is especially important given that the significance of the Convention is rising against the backdrop of rapid growth of life sciences, whose discoveries may have dual use nature, and the danger of use of biological agents and toxins as weapons of war and terror. Mr Chairman, We have a positive view of the outcome of the Sixth Review Conference held in Geneva from 20 November to 6 December 2006. The main achievement of the Sixth Review Conference was the adoption of a range of practical future oriented decisions aimed to strengthen the Convention. The decisions of the Review Conference are a kind of a roadmap – a plan of action for the next several years. Nowadays we have to focus on mobilizing efforts to fully implement the Convention and the decisions of all Review Conferences. In this regard we would like to emphasise the agreement to continue intersessional meetings for the next five years. We fully support this process and hope that at the meetings we will be able to exchange information relating to the national implementation of the Convention. The Russian Delegation is ready for this work. We are confident that the meetings will help in reaching our chief objective to strengthen a universal ban on biological and toxin weapons. However, there is no doubt that effectively achieving this objective will be served by an early resumption of multilateral negotiations to develop a legally binding BWC verification mechanism. Our principled position on this point remains without change. We hope that the meetings of experts and States Parties in 2007 will contribute to exchange of expertise in the interests of enhancing the BWC’s implementation. We think it will be useful to collect this meeting’s national contributions and attach them to its report. By making use of these materials States Parties, in accordance with their 2 constitutional procedures, will be able to take necessary action to improve effectiveness of the BWC’s national implementation. Mr Chairman, The Russian Federation has a well established mechanism for licensing and overview of work with pathogens. Export control system to oversee transfers of biological goods and technologies, compliant with international standards, has been established, and it is regularly updated in response to new circumstances and threats. In this context we attach importance to the implementation of the UNSCR 1540 which is a practical answer to the global challenge of proliferation of the WMD and the danger of their falling into the hands of non-state actors. We are of the view that its implementation by all states will contribute to addressing the tasks that the BWC States Parties are faced with. We have prepared and information on the implementation of the BWC in the Russian Federation. We are ready, upon request, to share our experience of setting up a legal framework to ensure implementation of the Convention at the national level including regulation of work with pathogens. Cooperation of this kind is already actively pursued by us in the Eurasian Economic Community, Organisation of the Collective Security Treaty and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Mr Chairman, There is certain positive change in the number of confidence building measures returns submitted this year. Given that we lack a verification mechanism, CBMs are the main means of increasing mutual confidence among States Parties in compliance with the BWC. However, the situation remains unsatisfactory because around 100 States Parties, including those that have a developed biotechnological industry and advanced R&D facilities, fail to submit declarations. We call upon all countries to respect the consensus decisions of Review Conferences and annually present CBM returns. Bearing in mind the discussion held here last year on the problem of the prohibition of use of biological and toxin weapons I deem it necessary to draw again your attention to the unsatisfactory situation around the 1925 Geneva Protocol. In spite of the fact that the Fourth and Sixth Review Conferences stated in their Final Declarations that the use of biological and toxin weapons is prohibited under Article 1 3 of the Convention a number of States Parties to the BWC maintain reservations to the Geneva Protocol thus not discarding a possibility that such weapons may be used. We urge all states maintaining such reservations to withdraw them. Russia has already done it. Recently the first round of unofficial expert-level consultations was held in New York on updating the UNSG mechanism to investigate the cases of alleged use of biological weapons in contravention to the provisions of the Geneva Protocol. We support this process and look forward to its successful continuation with the aim of arriving at a mutually acceptable outcome. Mr Chairman, It is gratifying that a call for further universalisation of the Convention, which sounded especially clearly in 2006, was not left without heed. In this context I am pleased to welcome the states that recently acceded to the Convention. However, still a number of countries, including those situated in the regions of high tension such as the Middle East, remain outside the BWC. In this connection we call upon all states not parties to the Convention, to accede to it at the earliest. We would like to believe that this positive universalisation trend will stay. Our hope is that the ISU, established last year, will contribute towards this goal. It has been a short time but the ISU has done useful work. We wish it all success in the future. Mr Chairman, The Russian delegation intends to effectively work and fruitfully cooperate with all delegations for the sake of addressing the tasks that we have on our agenda. Thank you.