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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Remarks > 2005

Biological Weapons Convention Experts Meeting

Ambassador Donald Mahley, U.S. Head of Delegation
Opening statement
Geneva, Switzerland
June 13, 2005

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation congratulates you on your assumption of the Chair of the 2005 BWC meetings and offers you our full support. The 2003-2005 Work Program has, to date, been extremely constructive. It has provided one of the largest-ever international gatherings of experts on potential biological weapons-related activities and created renewed awareness of the importance of effective national measures, and how such measures can work in conjunction with worldwide efforts to stem the threat of biological weapons. We expect that our 2005 meetings under your able chairmanship will continue this trend.

During this year's focus on "scientific and professional responsibility," discussion will center on "the content, promulgation, and adoption of codes of conduct for scientists." This is an important issue. We hope that the expert discussions and exchanges over the next two weeks will help to generate a greater understanding of emerging codes of conduct, their role in reinforcing, and in some ways personalizing, the norm against biological and toxin weapons, and provide an impetus to efforts promoting scientists' professional responsibilities.

I've no doubt that our upcoming discussions will also amply demonstrate that there is no "one size fits all" approach to codes of conduct. A universal code of conduct is not, in our view, feasible. Instead, my delegation will measure the success of this meeting in the extent to which it contributes to enhancing recognition by experts and States Parties of scientists' professional responsibilities. Ethical and responsible behavior by national scientists complements States Parties' national compliance objectives as well as overall international security.

In the coming days, the United States Government plans to make the following presentations:

  • Department of Defense 
  • Department of Health and Human Services (two presentations) 
  • Department of Agriculture 
  • Department of Energy (two presentations) 
  • Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Chairman, I also note that a number of United States based non-governmental experts have chosen to present their views which are not representative of the views of the USG, but I expect they will make this amply clear in their presentations. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Released on June 22, 2005

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