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Chemical, Biological and Radiological Terrorism

Chemical, Biological and Radiological Terrorism

Recommendation 746 on chemical, biological and radiological terrorism. Report (Document A/1858) submitted on behalf of the Defence Committee by Mr Le Guen, Rapporteur (France, Socialist Group). Source: WEU, Paris, June 3, 2004.

      The Assembly,

  1. Noting the persistent, worldwide threat of terrorism, amongst others from al-Qa'ida, more than two years after the 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States;

  2. Expressing solidarity with the Spanish people, the victim of attacks on 11 March 2004 in Madrid, and with all those in the world who suffer the consequences of terrorism;

  3. Considering that the risk of chemical, biological and radiological terrorism is real, although difficult to evaluate in specific terms;

  4. Highlighting the importance of the prevention and control measures implemented before and after the 11 September 2001 attacks to deal with these types of attack;

  5. Pointing to the fact that although each European state is solely responsible for those who reside within its territory, the fight against the present terrorist threat requires close and unremitting cooperation between all the countries on our continent;

  6. Welcoming the European Council's decision on the application in advance of the proposed solidarity clause contained in Article 42 of the draft Constitutional Treaty providing inter alia for the mobilisation of military means to prevent the terrorist threat and assist a member state in the event of a terrorist attack on its territory;

  7. Noting nevertheless that the practical measures needing to be taken for the application in advance of that clause have not been specified and that European Union countries' efforts to firm up the contribution the ESDP should make to the fight against terrorism remain limited;

  8. Considering in that context, the importance of intelligence services and police forces in forestalling attacks, disrupting their preparation and warding off their execution;

  9. Considering that there is a need to accelerate and intensify cooperation between the security services and forces of EU and/or NATO member countries;

  10. Noting, however, that cooperation is at present insufficient and that existing shortcomings provide many opportunities for terrorist groups, who are able to travel around Europe and elsewhere, with appalling consequences as demonstrated by the 11 March 2004 attacks in Madrid, Spain;

  11. Stressing the need to prepare, equip and train Europe's medical profession and civil protection services to enable them to cope with any possible chemical, biological or radiological attack;

  12. Considering that, although such measures primarily require a national effort, cooperation is essential for dealing with any cross-border consequences, and also as a token of solidarity, given that not all European countries have the same resources for coping with such eventualities;

  13. Considering that it is also important to continue to strengthen and extend international regimes for controlling and eliminating chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and preventing their proliferation;

  14. Stressing the utmost need for the Biological Weapons Convention to have an inspection and verifications system similar to that for chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention;

  15. Considering it important to continue to eliminate stocks of chemical weapons in Russia and other countries, in order to prevent illegal trafficking and transfer of those weapons to terrorist organisations and criminal networks;

  16. Noting that, in order to ensure such regimes are effective, it is possible in some cases to have recourse to political and military sanctions, in compliance with the United Nations Security Council's peace and security mandate;

  17. Noting with concern the destabilising effects of unilateral approaches based on military force alone, which weaken international control regimes that enjoy the widest possible international support;

  18. Taking the view that the protection of intellectual property and technological advances in the fields of chemical and biological sciences must form part, from the outset, of the development and implementation of control regimes;

  19. Stressing, however, that this should never be invoked in cases where research or patents have offensive military applications prohibited by the treaties and conventions in force;

  20. Considering that the states of Europe are directly responsible for the major thrust of European research in the fields of biotechnology, pharmacy, human genetics, genetically modified organisms and nanotechnology, all of which contribute to human progress but whose effects can be dangerous to humans and to the animal and vegetable kingdoms;

  21. Considering that this question is one which should also be dealt with at international level, through the creation of partnerships between the principal nations with capabilities in those fields and the major multinational companies within the sector, and also the relevant international and non-governmental organisations,

      RECOMMENDS that the Council

  1. Determine whether a terrorist attack on a member country, using weapons of mass destruction, particularly of a chemical, biological and radiological nature, constitutes an armed attack within the meaning of Article V of the modified Brussels Treaty, and define the practical implications this may entail for the signatory states and for the Council;

  2. Generate the necessary impetus within the European Union for it to take a decision on the measures making possible the application in advance of the solidarity clause proposed in the draft Constitutional Treaty, and to define the part the ESDP is to play in the fight against chemical, biological and radiological terrorism.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).