Joint statement by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States members of the CSTO on strengthening the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction19.05.2021
The States members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) emphasize the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction as a pillar of the international security architecture. Today, as in 1975, its objective remains relevant: to exclude completely the possibility of biological agents being used as weapons.
The parties underline the need to uphold and strengthen the Convention, including by institutionalizing and adopting a legally binding protocol thereto th at provides, inter alia, for an effective mechanism for verifying compliance with the Convention and for regular consultations and cooperation in resolving any issues relating to its implementation.
The CSTO member States are of the view that it is unacceptable to establish international mechanisms that duplicate the functions of the Convention and bypass the United Nations Security Council. In particular, they oppose attempts to use so-called “voluntary evaluation visits” to dual-use microbiological facilities as an alternative to verification under the Convention, as well as the establishment of an organizational unit within the United Nations Secretariat to investigate alleged use of biological weapons. With a view to establishing a mechanism under the Convention to investigate alleged use of biological weapons, the States parties to the Convention should develop operating standards for the mechanism, together with technical guidelines and procedures.
The CSTO member States express their regret that, over the past 20 years, the States parties to the Convention, despite the wishes of the overwhelming majority, have not been able to reach agreement on resuming the multilateral negotiations on the elaboration of a protocol to the Convention that were suspended in 2001. Consequently, and also in the light of rapid advances in science and technology with dual-use capabilities, the risk of biological agents being used as weapons has increased.
The parties call upon the States parties to the Convention to continue joint efforts towards strengthening the Convention on a secure, legally binding basis. They would welcome initiatives in this regard. At the same time, support measures should be adopted to improve the current level of implementation of the Convention.
The institutional framework of the Convention would be strengthened if the proposed mobile biomedical teams were established under the Convention to provide assistance in cases of use of biological weapons, to investigate such cases and to assist in combating epidemics of various origins. This proposal represents a new approach to improving the implementation of the Convention at the international level that combines the principles of collective security and cooperation for peaceful purposes.
The parties stress that the States parties to the Convention must give greater attention to the rapid development of science and technology in areas relevant to the Convention. There is a need to raise awareness of the risks associated with dual-use research and, simultaneously, to promote the full use of the latest advances in biotechnology for peaceful purposes. In this context, the parties support the idea of establishing a scientific advisory committee under the Convention to analyse scientific and technical advances relevant to the Convention and to provide appropriate recommendations to the States parties.
The CSTO member States note the importance of improving the confidence-building measures implemented under the Convention, inter alia, by including in the reporting form information on the military biological activities carried out abroad by States parties to the Convention.
During the Ninth Review Conference, CSTO member States are prepared to consider any proposals that could strengthen the Convention and improve its implementation in a non-discriminatory manner. We call upon all States parties to adopt a constructive approach to ensure that the decisions taken will serve to strengthen the Convention regime.