Vatican Backs U.N. Agreement on Chemical Weapons

Document Deposited with U.S. Government

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2002 ( The Vatican has given its juridical, moral and symbolic support to a 1970s U.N. convention aimed at eliminating chemical weapons from the world.

The Vatican officially adhered to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction.

A Vatican press statement published today revealed that on Jan. 4, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, apostolic nuncio in the United States, deposited the document of adherence with U.S. government authorities.

In this way, the Vatican “wishes to encourage the whole international community resolutely to pursue the paths leading to a system of disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, as part of the process of global and complete disarmament,” the statement said.

“The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, have led to a clearer and more widespread awareness of the need to build a culture of multilateral dialogue and a climate of trust between all the members of the human family,” the declaration states.

“At this particular point in history, instruments of cooperation and prevention constitute one of the most effective safeguards in the face of heinous acts such as the use of biological weapons, capable of indiscriminately striking at innocent civilian populations,” the text continues.

“In conformity with its own nature and the specific condition of Vatican City State, the Holy See, by its solemn act of accession, wishes to offer its moral support to the commitment of all States to promote a practical implementation of the Convention in question, aware that the establishment of a culture of peace, and of life is based upon the values of responsibility, solidarity and dialogue,” the note concludes.

The convention against chemical weapons was adopted in December 1971 by the U.N. General Assembly. The agreement came into force in March 1975.

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