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UN Moves To Keep Germ-Chem-Nuke Weapons Contained

UN Panel Working To Keep Chemical, Germ And Nuclear Arms Out Of Terrorist Hands

The ability of countries to prevent terrorists, black marketers and other private interests from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) will soon get needed help from a Security Council committee set up to monitor the problem, the panel's chairman said today.

The so-called 1540 Committee, named after the Security Council resolution which established the body in April, has already received reports from Turkmenistan and Malta and would soon be fully functional, Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.

Numerous national leaders addressing the General Assembly during its annual high-level debate have been warning that the risk of WMDs reaching terrorists is the most ominous current security threat, he said.

Resolution 1540 calls on States to adopt legislative and administrative regulations to deal with WMD proliferation and to report within six months on their efforts to execute the measure's requirements. The deadline for the first reports is 28 October.

Because the text was adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, in theory the 15-member Council has the power to enforce decisions relating to it through tribunals, embargoes or military force after all peaceful means of persuading delinquent Member States have been exhausted.

As chairman of the WMD committee, Ambassador Motoc has contacted the Directors-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a bid to coordinate their work on non-proliferation.

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