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Statement by Mr. Hu Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs & Head of Delegation of the People's Republic of China at the Ad Hoc Group of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (Geneva, July 23, 2001)
 Mr. Chairman,

   I welcome you back to Geneva to preside over the work of the 24th Ad Hoc Group meeting. Now we are faced with a challenging job. I am convinced that with your outstanding skills and rich experience in multilateral diplomacy, you will surely lead the Group to achieve positive results during this session. I would like to assure you of my delegation's full support and cooperation with you.

   Mr. Chairman,

   As mandated by the Special Conference of the States Parties to the Convention in 1994, a legally binding instrument shall be negotiated by the Ad Hoc Group to strengthen the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention in a comprehensive manner. Since then, we have been engaged in such a great cause which has far-reaching significance for international peace and security. The initiation of the Protocol negotiation reflects the general understanding of the international community that notwithstanding the Convention, the threat of biological weapons has yet to be rooted out, and the comprehensive prohibition and thorough destruction of biological weapons has always been the common objective of international community.

   At the 4th Review Conference of the Convention in 1996, States Parties pledged to complete the negotiation not later than the 5th Review Conference. This agreement demonstrated the strong aspiration of all States Parties to conclude the Protocol at an earlier date, which had been an important guarantee of the steady progress made in the negotiation to date.

  Given its unique characteristics and technical complexity, the Protocol negotiation over the past 7 years has been no plain sailing. However, the negotiation has, step by step, progressed to this critical stage. The driving force behind has been the unswerving resolve and tenacious spirit of the States Parties.

   Mr. Chairman,

   In retrospect of the negotiation process,  we firmly believe, more than ever, the successful conclusion of the Protocol----the only multilateral arms control treaty now under negotiation, will be not only conducive to strengthening the nonproliferation regime in the biological field, but also beneficial to the international security system constructed on the basis of multilateral arms control treaties.

   The negotiation process yet again demonstrates that the fundamental nature of multilateral arms control treaties is to seek common security on the basis of mutual trust among states. Forcing one's own will on others is inconsistent with this spirit. Pursuing one's own absolute security in disregard of others' security concerns also runs counter to it. Indeed, whenever all sides participate in the negotiation in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, our negotiation progresses smoothly. Otherwise, it goes no further or even falls back.

   Mr. Chairman,

   This is the last session of the Ad Hoc Group. Seven years of negotiations have resulted in fruitful achievements which well establish the basis for the conclusion of the Protocol. All sides have experienced difficulties and hardships to this end. In particular we would like to pay tribute to you, Mr. Chairman, for your firm will and unmatched assiduity illustrated in years of hard work. We can not but cherish what we have so far achieved in the negotiation.

   It should be noted that "the last kilometer" ahead of us is by no means a level road. Quite a number of major outstanding issues remain to be resolved. This is nothing unusual in multilateral negotiations. In order to settle those issues, thereby removing hurdles against the timely finalization of the Protocol, the only way out is to face up to the divergent views rather than shying away from them, and to respect and accommodate concerns of others rather than imposing one's own positions. This is indeed, the essence of the multilateralism----the underlying principle of the ongoing Protocol negotiations.

   Mr. Chairman,

   On July 16th, China and Russia signed the Good-neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, in which the two countries jointly committed to promoting the mechanism to strengthen the prohibition of biological weapons. Based on this position, China has participated in the Protocol negotiation and striven for the conclusion of a Protocol strengthening the effectiveness of the Convention not later than the 5th Review Conference in accordance with the mandate of Ad Hoc Group. In the joint statement put forward by China, Cuba, Iran, Indonesia, Libya, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the last session, we elaborated our position on the negotiation process: intensive negotiations on substantive matters should be launched so as to reach consensus on pending issues.

   Mr. Chairman,

   More than 2000 years ago,Confucius sighed in front of the surging Yellow River the following words: "time flows likes this river, day and night". Now our negotiation is approaching the critical point. This is exactly when the political will, sense of responsibility and spirit of compromise of all sides are subject to test.

   We shall all do our best with a view to accomplishing our mission in accordance with the mandate established by the Special Conference of States Parties.

   Thank you, Mr. Chairman.        
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