NATO Alliance calls for strengthened effort to fight bioweapons

Numerous legislators from the NATO Alliance have called for allied governments to increase their efforts to stop the threat of biological and chemical weapons, saying that a growing danger exists that terrorists may acquire and use such weapons to devastating effect.

"There is always a race between those who want to do us harm and those of us who search for technological means to thwart such terrorist acts," Congressman David Scott, who authored a draft resolution for the annual session of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, said. "We, as politicians, must make sure that we stay ahead."

Scott added that governments should not allow current budgetary restraints to undermine defenses against biological and chemical weapons.

"Biological and chemical weapons are a significant and evolving threat and we must remain vigilant and we must be strong against these terrorist threats to humankind," Scott told the committee.

The Assembly's Science and Technology Committee adopted a draft calling on NATO governments to invest in detection technology, countermeasures and protection of critical infrastructure from biological and chemical threats.

The resolution is expected to be approved by the full Assembly, comprising more than 250 parliamentarians from the 28 NATO nations, this week.

NATO governments are urged by the draft resolution to strengthen arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, particularly at the upcoming international Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention that begins on Dec. 5 in Geneva.

"This is our most urgent opportunity to update a control regime for biological and chemical weapons and it should be and must be stronger," Scott said of the conference, which is held every five years.

The resolution also calls for the United States, Russia, Iraq and Libya, the four nations with declared chemical weapons, to finish their stockpile destructions in a timely and responsible manner.