U.N. First Committee discusses chemical and biological weapons

A discussion of the dangers of chemical and biological weapons recently dominated a meeting of the United Nations First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

Committee members lauded the work of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, but warned that serious challenges can be expected in efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction.

Ireland's representative said that while the committee had often discussed nuclear weapons, it needs to address the other ways humanity has created to annihilate itself. He cautioned that the conventions were not enough to ensure that chemical and biological weapons would be used, adding that only 47 percent of the signatories have actually implemented their principles.

The committee said that it remained necessary to close the gaps in the global system that allow the spread of chemical biological weapons or the elements required to make them, both for state and non-state actors.

The delegate from the United States reported that 90 percent of the nation's chemical stockpile had been successfully destroyed by the April deadline and that Washington would continue to work in a transparent manner until the rest of the weapons were eliminated. The delegate also said the United States would continue to work to stop the global spread of other types of weapons of mass destruction.