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US Calls For Control of Weapons of Mass Destruction - 2002-01-24

The United States is calling for increased pressure on countries that aid the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as part of its international war on terrorism. The U.S. has claimed that countries sponsoring terrorism are trying to build their stock of potential weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, John Bolton, told the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva Thursday that the countries violating international arms treaties are often the same states that sponsor terrorism.

He singled out Iraq and North Korea for particular blame. Mr. Bolton accused North Korea of violating commitments made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT. "North Korea has been in violation of its NPT obligations ever since it signed the agreed framework and has not to this day, permitted the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] sufficient access, for IAEA even to make a baseline determination of what materials and technology North Korea has," he said.

Mr. Bolton also accused Iraq of trying to make nuclear weapons since neither U.N arms inspectors nor the International Atomic Energy Agency had access to the country over the past three years to review its weapons program.

Mr. Bolton also said the U.S. will work with other countries to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons and warned countries that might try to develop the weapons secretly. "I caution those who think that they can pursue nuclear weapons without detection: the United States and its allies will prove you wrong," said John Bolton. "And let me reiterate U.S. policy on nuclear weapons proliferation: the United States regards the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology as a direct threat to international security and will treat it accordingly. The same holds true for nations that traffic in deadly chemical and biological weapons technology, and missiles systems."

Mr. Bolton urged the Conference on Disarmament to work together to put an end to terror groups and rogue states developing and acquiring deadly weapons.