Mauritania accedes to Biological Weapons Convention

An individual dons personal protective equipment. | Courtesy of the Institute for Security Studies in Africa

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Africa reported on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic of Mauritania joined the Biological Weapons Convention that prohibits the development, stockpile and use of biological weapons. 

The nation's agreement to the convention marks a step forward in pursuing peaceful activity and eliminating biological agents in war. Conditions of joining state that Mauritania will never pursue development, transfer or stockpile of biological weapons. The report points out that the country has never been suspected of such activity.

With the addition of Mauritania, the convention boasts 172 countries, with Andorra and Angola also a possibility to sign. 

The report states that there are eight countries in Africa that have not joined the convention. Experts from the ISS in Africa state this could be a troubling indication of the continent's lack of commitment to eliminating these kinds of weapons. Another indication of this lack of commitment is that previous confidence building mechanisms that are a part of the BWC framework were attended by 16 African states over a 20-year period. 

The BWC serves as a central component of global security measures and efforts. It is considered an important part of the ongoing effort to eliminate weapons of mass destruction of all types, including chemical, nuclear and radiological.