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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 97 12:51:14 CST
From: rich%pencil@interbit.cren.net (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Cuba: US Foiled in Attempt to Close UN Biowar Investigation
Article: 22721

US Foiled in Attempt to Close UN Biowar Investigation

Granma International News [25 November 1997]

The UN Convention Jon BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS to continue investigation of US aggression against Cuba, on the following basis

GENEVA.- Cuba scored another diplomatic victory by preventing the United States from blocking the continuation of investigations into its government's charges concerning U.S. biological warfare. In an interview with Prensa Latina, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Mara de los gngeles Florez stated that the serious evidence presented to the consultative meeting of the International Convention on Biological Weapons kept the U.S. delegation from closing the matter.

The White House hoped that the discussion of the island's accusations related to the United States' introduction in Cuban territory of Thrips palmi, which attacks various crops, would end without a detailed examination of the charges, Florez added.

The meeting resolved that the states which are party to the convention if they wish to do so, must file their observations on this issue no later than Sept 27 with the presidency (United Kingdom). The forum also ruled that the presidency and the vice presidencies (Russia, Canada, Havana and Washington), must attend, with the goal of clarifying suspicions in this regard.

It also decided that the presidency of the Convention's Assembly should present a written report by December 31 of this year on the results of these consultations.

According to the Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, the document approved in Geneva allows for follow-up on Cuba's charges. She added that it also offers Cuba the possibility of presenting more information and refuting the arguments utilized by Washington in rejection of Havana's accusations concerning the introduction of the Thrips palmi blight on the island.

In presenting the charges, Florez insisted on the clear evidence regarding this action on the part of the United States. She went on to say that this is not the first time that Havana has voiced concerns about the United States' fulfillment of the Convention on Biological Weapons, and noted that the antecedents are well known.

The Convention on Biological Weapons makes its decision by consensus and voting is not obligatory. One of its weaknesses, in the opinion of observers, is that it lacks a verification mechanism; this point has been under negotiation for many years in Geneva but no concrete agreement has yet been reached.