§ Mr. Llew Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representation his Department had at the meeting of the United Nations biological weapons convention held in Geneva on 19 to 30 September; what proposals were put forward by Her Majesty's Government; and whether any resource or financial commitment was made by the United Kingdom in support of the verification measures.
§ Mr. David Davis
The United Kingdom's delegation to the bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons convention special conference was led by the leader of the United Kingdom permanent delegation to the conference on disarmament. He was supported by officials and experts from the FCO, MOD, DTI and the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down.
Following a UK initiative, the EU submitted a proposal to the conference for the establishment of a follow-up group to prepare, by the time of the 1996 BTWC fourth review conference, a legally binding verification protocol, focusing on declarations and inspections. The conference eventually agreed to establish a group to do further work on a verification regime, albeit with a less specific mandate and time scale than we would have wished.
The costs of this group's work will be shared among states parties to the BTWC. The costs of any eventual verification regime are likely to be borne by states parties to the regime.