- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2001

GENOA, Italy (AP) In a split with key allies, the Bush administration has decided to oppose a draft agreement to enforce a 26-year-old germ weapons treaty.
The administration, already under fire for rejecting ally-backed initiatives on climate change and small arms trade, has concluded that the guidelines will not stop the spread of biological weapons and could hurt U.S. business interests, said an administration official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official was attending an economic summit here with President Bush, who has been accused of isolating the United States from its allies on international treaties and on his push for an anti-missile shield.
American envoy Donald A. Mahley planned to tell negotiators in Geneva this week that Mr. Bush supported the Biological Weapons Convention but feared the enforcement rules would be burdensome to some universities and industries and might expose American businesses to commercial theft.
The decision was first reported by the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.
An administration team recommended in the spring that the proposed rules be rejected, and U.S. officials said at the time that the White House was likely to accept the advice.
Since then, the administration has concluded that the language designed to enforce the treaty is flawed beyond repair.
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 gave its blessing to the protocol.
With its decision, the administration joins China, Libya, Cuba, Iran and Pakistan in voicing opposition to the rules. Allies in Europe and Latin America support the language.

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