The twenty-five participating countries of the Australia Group (AG), together with the European Commission, met in Paris from 2-10 June 1993 to discuss ways of strengthening measures against the spread and use of chemical and biological weapons (CBW).
Three new members were welcomed to the Group at the meeting - Argentina, Hungary and Iceland. Members looked forward to working closely with these additional countries to prevent CBW proliferation and use.
Participants agreed in December 1992 that there was a continuing and important role for the Group in the harmonisation of national non-proliferation controls over CBW materials, in a manner consistent with the Group's primary interest in an effectively operating Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). Following on from this agreement on major policy directions, participants in June focused primarily on technical aspects of the Group's work, as well as considering how to make this work better known and understood among countries not participating in the Group.
Consolidation of the Group's common export control lists was a major achievement of three subsidiary experts' meetings, which covered BW issues, CW dual-use equipment and CW precursor chemicals. In particular, participants finalised the package of comprehensive export controls on biological agents and such biological manufacturing equipment as could be used in biological weapons programs. Consolidation of the export control lists should ensure that countries with aspirations to develop chemical or biological weapons will find it increasingly difficult to acquire the necessary agents and equipment from member countries. A fourth meeting of experts, comprising representatives from licensing and customs authorities, discussed ways of implementing CBW export controls more effectively within member countries, and of increasing co-operation among enforcement officials.
Participants reached agreement on a clearer understanding of procedures for ensuring that denials of an export of a listed item for CBW non-proliferation reasons by one member would be respected by all other members.
On the basis of an agreed framework for effective licensing arrangements for CBW- relevant export controls, ways and means were discussed for enhancing the effectiveness of national export controls, including the possibility of harmonisation of end-user undertakings and re-export controls among AG partners.
In keeping with the decision in December 1992 that the Group should make a positive effort to make its aims and activities better known, participants at the June meeting agreed to promote broad contacts with non-members following all future Australia Group meetings. Participants also resolved to expand their dialogue about CBW issues with non-member countries with a view to encouraging the introduction and effective implementation of CBW non-proliferation measures.
In this context, the participants welcomed plans for an Asian Export Control Seminar to be hosted by the Government of Japan on 25-27 October 1993 in Tokyo; and for the Fourth International Seminar against the Proliferation of CBW, to be convened in Oslo by the Government of Norway on 13-14 December 1993. The Group expressed the hope that the broadly based international dialogue which these seminars represent will further understanding of the specific, practical measures which can be taken to prevent association with CBW programs, and that it will foster a co-operative approach to resolving any difficulties arising from these measures.
Participants urged all countries to take the necessary steps to ensure that they and their industries are not contributing to the spread of chemical and biological weapons. In particular, they appealed to all countries to adopt export controls and measures on relevant materials, comparable to those adopted by members of the Australia Group, to halt the spread of chemical and biological weapons and thus support the global ban on these entire classes of weapons of mass destruction embodied in the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
The participants agreed to meet again in Paris in December 1993.
The participants in the Australia Group are:
- European Commission
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States