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BWC Universalization - Letter April 2011

In April 2011, His Excellency Uri Rosenthal, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands wrote to his counterparts in countries currently outside of the regime. The letter not only encourages these states to join the treaty but highlights the lack of financial implications and the availability of assistance to facilitate the process.

The full text of the letter was:
    The Hague,
    April 2011

    Your Excellency,

    In December 2010 the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention designated Dutch Ambassador Paul van den IJssel as President of the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which will take place from 5 to 22 December 2011 in Geneva. I am writing to you in connection with the Dutch Presidency to urge (Name of specific State not party), which is not yet a State Party to the Convention, to consider acceding to this important international security instrument.

    The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, to which there are now 163 States Parties, totally prohibits the development, production, stockpiling or other acquisition or retention of biological and toxin weapons. It is one of the three fundamental pillars of the international community's efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction. As the preamble to the Convention states, the use of bacteriological agents and toxins as weapons would be ‘repugnant to the conscience of mankind’.

    (Name of specific State not party) accession would be a step towards the universality of the Convention, and would aid the work of the Seventh Review Conference in strengthening global barriers against the appalling threat of biological weapons. There is no financial cost entailed in joining, and assistance from other States Parties is available to help with national implementation of the agreement’s provisions.

    I understand that each country has its own unique circumstances and many competing legislative, foreign policy and security priorities. You may have already started thinking about acceding to the treaty, but been prevented by other concerns from giving the subject the attention you would like. The States Parties are keen to engage and have a meaningful dialogue with you on accession and related issues. I can assure you that many States Parties, including those in your region, are willing to offer support and assistance with the accession process.

    I respectfully urge you to take steps to accede to the Convention without delay, and to join us in our efforts to ensure that the great advances being made in biological science and technology are used only for the benefit of people around the world.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that Ambassador Van den IJssel intends to invite a representative of your country to a meeting in Geneva and/or New York to further discuss your accession to the Convention.

    Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

    Yours sincerely,

    Uri Rosenthal
    Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands