Motion for a resolution - B6-0587/2006Motion for a resolution



to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Tobias Pflüger, Mary Lou McDonald, Adamos Adamou, André Brie, Vittorio Agnoletto and Willy Meyer Pleite
on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), cluster bombs and conventional weapons

Procedure : 2006/2657(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), cluster bombs and conventional weapons

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Third Review Conference on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW, the so-called 'inhumane weapons convention'), taking place in Geneva from 7 to 17 November 2006,

–  having regard to the Sixth Review Conference on the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) to be held in Geneva from 20 November to 8 December 2006,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on both the BTWC and the CCW, in particular its resolution of 14 June 2001 on the Compliance Protocol for the BTWC,

–  having regard to the EU's Strategy on Weapons of Mass Destruction adopted in 2003 and Parliament's resolution of 17 November 2005 on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: a role for the European Parliament,

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the BTWC is highly universal because it has been signed by a large majority of States (155 as of 1 January 2006, including all members of the UN Security Council) but nevertheless the Convention is suffering from the absence of verification provisions to ensure compliance; whereas furthermore the Convention was drawn up in a period when the potential threat from non-state actors armed with biological weapons was not adequately recognised,

B.  regarding the use of white phosphorus in 'the Battle of Fallujah', which was fought by an Army, Marine and Iraqi force under the I Marine Expeditionary Force (IMEF) of the United States,

C.  regarding the acknowledgement by the Government of Israel that during the Lebanon war it attacked Hezbollah targets with phosphorus shells,

D.  whereas, although the number of signatories is steadily growing (100 to the introductory framework agreement in January 2006), the CCW is far from universal and the number of signatories is substantially lower for its five protocols which contain the substance of the Convention (on non-detectable fragments P1, 1983, 97, mines and booby-traps P2, 1983, 87, incendiary weapons P3, 1983, 93, blinding laser weapons P4, 1998, 82 and unexploded ordnance P5, 2006, 23),

E.  whereas moreover the CCW suffers from other flaws such as: the absence of verification mechanisms (and the political will necessary to ensure compliance); a lack of clarity regarding the types of weapons covered by the Convention; the fact that such weapons can be and are used in a very controversial and indiscriminate manner (causing unnecessary and disproportionate casualties amongst non-combatants, use in urban areas) while nevertheless still not being forbidden under the Convention,

F.  whereas – as well as the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – the effective functioning of both the BTWC and the CCW is extremely important to prohibit the use of these and other inhumane types of weaponry not only by States in warfare but also by non-state actors, including terrorists and criminals,

The outcome of the BTWC Review conference and its future

1.  Recalls that the 5th BTWC Review Conference of 2001 ended in failure largely due to the US Bush Administration's withdrawal from the (almost successfully completed) negotiations on devising a legally binding compliance protocol to verify that States Parties to the BTWC abide by the Convention, and that Administration's demand that the verification negotiation process be terminated altogether;

2.  Recalls that the 6th Review Conference is an opportunity to relaunch efforts to establish genuine and effective ways of verifying the BTWC;

3.   Welcomes the EU Joint Action agreed in respect of the BTWC on 27 February 2006 and the Common Position adopted on 20 March 2006 to promote the universality of the BTWC (inter alia by means of implementation assistance) and to promote a pragmatic programme of work to strengthen implementation and compliance by its States Parties as well as by non-state actors, to be completed in time for 7th Review Conference in 2011;

4.   Welcomes the continuous diplomatic action of the EU (both the Council and the Commission) to keep alive international efforts to strengthen the BTWC, and recognises the EU's role in promoting the exploration of voluntary non-binding inspections as 'confidence-building measures' as well as the strengthening of national legislation in the run-up to the Review Conference;

5.   Is nevertheless concerned that the apparent unwillingness of the EU and the international community at large to counter the US refusal to countenance a binding verification protocol is damaging the future of the BTWC and its credibility;

The outcome of the CCW Review Conference and its future

6.   Welcomes the fact that Protocol V to the CCW on Explosive Remnants of War will become effective in November 2006, is nevertheless convinced that many more States should sign and ratify it, and calls upon the Council and the Commission to do everything possible to ensure that all EU Member States duly sign and ratify this protocol;

7.   Calls upon the EU and the Member States to demand – in the spirit of the CCW's aim of establishing protocols on relevant weapon-systems when the need arises and pending a specific Convention on this issue – the adoption of a specific Protocol VI to stop the production, proliferation and use of cluster submunitions (fragmentation bombs);

8.   Reiterates the need to prohibit the use of white phosphorus or fuel air explosives as well as to stop the use of (depleted) uranium warheads and to start an initiative to insert the prohibition in Protocol III to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in order to support calls by the International Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations for a complete ban on phosphorus being used against human beings;

9.   Calls upon the EU and its Member States to work hard to ensure that the scope of CCW Protocol III on Incendiary Weapons is expanded in order to prevent the further use of white phosphorus shells against military and civilian targets as well as to stop the use of (depleted) uranium warheads;

10.  Calls upon the United States and Israel, which are not signatories to Protocol III, to prevent the use of white phosphorus and to sign Protocol III, accepting the prohibition of the use of white phosphorus;

Both the BTWC and the CCW

11.  Calls upon both the Council and the Commission to work hard to ensure that, within the foreseeable future, both the BTWC and the CCW are equipped with a permanent secretariat to oversee their successful implementation, along the lines of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, created for this purpose in relation to the Chemical Weapons Convention;

12.  Calls upon the Council and the Commission to ensure that UN Security Council Resolution 1540 is fully implemented and to consider extending its scope beyond weapons of mass destruction to include inhumane conventional weapons as well;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the BioWeapons Prevention Project in Geneva (BWPP) and the Secretary General and all Member States of the United Nations.