Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said bioweapons are a transnational threat in the 21st century.
In her remarks at the 7th Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference, Ms. Clinton said countries have accomplished a great deal together under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
“One hundred sixty-five states have now committed not to pursue these weapons, and I am delighted to welcome Burundi and Mozambique to the Convention, and I join in urging all states who have not yet done so to join.” -Ms. Clinton
She noted that President Obama has made it a top goal of his Administration to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, because he views the risk of a bioweapons attack as both a serious national security challenge and a foreign policy priority.
“In an age when people and diseases cross borders with growing ease, bioweapons are a transnational threat, and therefore we just protect against them with transnational action.” -Ms. Rice
She stressed that the nature of the problem is evolving. The advances in science and technology make it possible to both prevent and cure more diseases, but also easier for states and non-state actors to develop biological weapons.
“A crude, but effective, terrorist weapon can be made by using a small sample of any number of widely available pathogens, inexpensive equipment, and college-level chemistry and biology.” – Ms. Clinton
She stressed that countries must work to prevent states from acquiring biological weapons. She said one of the unsung successes of the Convention is that it has engrained a norm among states against biological weapons.
She emphasized that even countries that have never joined the Convention no longer claim that acquiring such weapons is a legitimate goal.