Jeffrey Lewis1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

London, Moscow and Washington have issued a joint statement reaffirming the importance of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention:

On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the United States, United Kingdom and Russian Federation, as Depositary Governments, reaffirm their strong support for the Convention. We seek practical realization of all Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention obligations. Our Governments will continue to work to strengthen the Convention by participating fully in the current three-year work program, by encouraging its universality, and by pressing for full implementation of, and compliance with, the Convention by all its States Parties.

The United States accuses Russia of maintaining an offensive biological weapons program and scuppered a draft verification protocol—which might determine whether that allegation is true.

This is very close to actual irony.

Update: David Ruppe observes that the US version of the joint statement “differs from the British version by omitting certain words of praise for the treaty.”

For example, the two-paragraph U.S. text does not include this paragraph found in the British statement: “The convention was the first to ban an entire class of weapons of mass destruction and is one of the first and crucial components in the nonproliferation tool-box. It remains as relevant today as it was when it was first drafted, although the threats we face have evolved. The international response to those new threats builds on the strong foundation of the existing multilateral disarmament framework of which the BWC is a part.”

Angela Woodward, acting director of VERTIC, told Global Security Newswire calls the US version of the not-so-joint statement “a shorter, less supportive statement…”

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