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Denmark promotes UN efforts at preventing use of biological weapons  - international tabletop exercise in Copenhagen

28.05.2013  07:37

Biological weapons experts from a number of UN Member States and organizations gather today in Copenhagen for a two-day international tabletop exercise hosted by Denmark. The aim is to test a new concept developed by Denmark for investigating alleged use of biological agents. The concept is intended to reinforce UN efforts to counter the threat from biological weapons. Denmark has already put a team of experts from the Danish Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedess (CBB) at the disposal of the UN.

The Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal states: 

“Some of the most horrible images on our minds are of victims of chemical and biological warfare. We need to take extraordinary measures to prevent such atrocities. I am pleased that Denmark with specialized capacities at our Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedness has been able to make a difference in strengthening the international community’s ability to investigate alleged use of biological weapons. Such contributions are necessary if the UN is to be able to transform the ambitious political goals of international agreements to counter the use of biological weapons into concrete results.”

Biological weapons are weapons of mass destruction capable of causing unimaginable havoc. True or not, accusations of alleged use of biological weapons as such may lead to serious escalation of an armed conflict. That is why the UN has set up a mechanism to investigate alleged use of biological and chemical weapons aiming at providing the capacity to quickly and objectively dismiss or confirm allegations and thus avoiding, on the one hand, an overreaction and providing, on the other hand, a solid basis for acting on use of illegal weapons. Such a mechanism requires special equipment and experts as when the UN in spring 2013 was asked to investigate alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Denmark supports the UN work in the field of biological weapons as part of its national disarmament and nonproliferation policies. During the international tabletop exercise on 28-29 May, experts from a number of countries and organizations will meet in Copenhagen to test a new concept for investigation of alleged use of biological weapons developed by Denmark. The exercise takes its point of departure in a realistic scenario in which the use of biological weapons is suspected and the UN mechanism is activated to manage a conflict threatening to develop. The Danish Undersecretary for Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Ambassador Uffe Balslev will open the exercise in Copenhagen Tuesday morning.

For further information please contact:
Jean Ellermann-Kingombe, phone: +45 2526 7606