Kazakhstan urges UN to create biological weapons control agency

United Nations, Sep 23 (efe-epa).- Kazakhstan on Wednesday urged the UN to create an international agency for the control of biological weapons, the need for which the Central Asian country says has been made evident by the coronavirus crisis.

“In light of the global pandemic, launching a biological weapons control system is becoming more acute than ever,” Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a video message to the United Nations General Assembly.

Kazakhstan, he said, proposes the establishment of a multilateral body to be called the International Agency for Biological Safety that would answer to the UN Security Council.

The new agency would be based on the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, in which almost all the countries of the world participate and which prohibits the production of this type of weapon, but lacks clear verification mechanisms.

Tokayev, who like other leaders addressed the global response to the coronavirus in his speech, also warned that the world faces two other great common problems: the crisis of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament process and climate change.

Kazakhstan, which, as its president recalled, voluntarily renounced its large Soviet-era nuclear arsenal, urged all countries to pressure the atomic powers to take “necessary and urgent measures to save humankind from a nuclear disaster.”

Tokayev said climate change was an “existential crisis” and warned that the world was losing the race against global warming.

However, he stressed that the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis offers a “unique opportunity to put environmental protection at the forefront of the international agenda.”

In that sense, Tokayev acknowledged that his country was still highly dependent on fossil fuels and has a lot to do to meet the 2030 targets set in the Paris Agreement, but insisted that greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 15% by that date with an economic transformation and a modernization of the industry.

He stressed that to face all these global crises, the world needs to “to restore an atmosphere of trust between Member States and strengthen multilateral institutions.”

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