Informal consultations were held among a group of countries opposed to the spread of Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW), known as the Australia Group, in Paris from 2-5 October. The Group welcomed two new participants, the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Turkey.
The Group reaffirmed the common purpose of all participants of upholding the aims of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), to rid the world of these illegal and indiscriminate weapons. Participants confirmed their commitment to the successful conclusion of the negotiations currently taking place in Geneva to secure a protocol to strengthen the BWC.
The Group further reaffirmed the belief of all participants that effective export licensing at national level, on a non-discriminatory basis, is critical to achieving the aims of the conventions to abolish CBW and to facilitate the use of chemical and biological technology for peaceful purposes by ensuring that dual use items are not transferred for CBW-related purposes.
The Group recognised the changing technical environment in which the fight against the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is taking place, and made a number of adjustments to the common lists which form the basis for the national measures taken by its participants. Most significantly the Group Participants ensured its that their respective national stanceson transfers of chemical mixtures was were brought into line with the recent decisions of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Group also recognised the importance of transparency in its operations, endorsing a new web-site, which will shortly be posted at www.australiagroup.net, and plans for a brochure and detailed paper outlining the Group’s role in opposing CBW proliferation.