Statement at Arria-formula Meeting on Military Biological Activities
Statement06 April 2022
Chair, Ireland is a committed State Party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC).
The use of biological agents or toxins, or indeed chemicals, as instruments of war is immoral and illegal, and would cause untold human suffering. They are rightly banned under international law, and there can be no impunity for those who use them.
It is essential for all of us, collectively, to uphold the international legal norm against such abhorrent weapons. Ireland looks forward to the BWC Review Conference, and will work with States Parties to further strengthen this key international instrument.
Chair, we are concerned, however, that this not the reason Russia organised this meeting.
Russia has repeatedly sought to mask the awful human cost of its unprovoked war on Ukraine with baseless and unfounded claims against Ukraine and the United States.
This is part of a longer track-record of using disinformation in multilateral fora to try to mask its activities, and to protect its allies.
Russia should stop trying to use the Security Council, including the Arria-format, as a platform for its disinformation campaign, to paint itself as the victim of its own aggression, in the face of the heinous actions it has committed in Ukraine.
Russia, through its disinformation campaigns and other actions, seeks to undermine essential multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation instruments upon which all of our security depends. This includes its ongoing and strident efforts to undermine bodies such as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Russia’s stance also risks undermining legitimate peaceful cooperation and research.
These activities make it very difficult to support Russia’s motivations for calling this meeting.
Chair, what would be most important today is for Russia to immediately cease its hostilities, unconditionally withdraw from the entire territory of Ukraine, and refrain from further threat or use of force of any kind against Ukraine.
It is time that Russia took responsibility for its actions.