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Since its inception the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology ICGEB has devoted all its efforts in assisting its Member States most of which are developing countries or countries with economies in transition for the peaceful application of modern biotechnology Under these circumstances it seemed quite natural that the Centre fully supported by its constituency indicate its availability to collaborate with the Ad Hoc Group of States Parties AHG to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention BTWC in order to provide its experience and its structures for enhancing the implementation of Article X of the BTWC At the present stage of the negotiations in the Ad Hoc Group for the adoption of a legally binding protocol for the implementation of the BTWC the two major issues at stake are the establishment of a proper verification regime coupled with a series of activities foreseen by Article VII of the Protocol aimed at enhancing international co-operation While increasing the effect of the measures designed for confidence building the latter should also provide the treaty with an added value element for those countries that would not have a major interest in joining the Convention either because they do not foresee the establishment of a BW programme or because they are in a relatively secure geopolitical situation Through its diversified spectrum of activities the ICGEB is already providing a series of programmes which would be in line with many of the points raised by the Protocol and is quoted albeit still in square brackets as one of the international organizations with which the Technical Secretariat of the soon-to-be BTWC Organization should co-operate This aspect has been fully recognized in the course of an international conference organized by the ICGEB and the Landau Network Trieste 26-27 June 1998 and entitled Peaceful Use of Biotechnology and the Biological Weapons Convention which concluded that - an important contribution to the achievement of universal adherence
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