President advised to reject guidelines on germ warfare |

President advised to reject guidelines on germ warfare

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Bush administration team has recommended that the White House reject proposed rules for enforcing a germ weapons treaty, concluding that the guidelines are not tough enough.

The administration supports the 1972 germ weapons ban, but is skeptical of the current protocol under which the treaty would be carried out. An interagency group has unanimously concluded that the protocol would not stop cheating, and the problems likely could not be fixed before the negotiating deadline, according to administration officials familiar with the review.

The recommendation was first reported by The New York Times.

The treaty, ratified by 143 nations, prohibits the development, production and possession of biological weapons. It still lacks a vehicle for ensuring compliance, and negotiators are trying to create one by November.

The Clinton administration blessed the protocol.

The Bush White House has not taken a position, but officials said the review will carry great weight with the president and his advisers. The administration has not ruled out fresh attempts to write new rules.

The topic is a sensitive one, given concerns by allies that the new administration is spending too much on new military programs and not enough on treaties and nonproliferation. It could be a major talking point next month, when Bush travels to Europe for the first time as president.

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