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AUSTRALIA PROPOSES COMPROMISE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION

 AUSTRALIA PROPOSES COMPROMISE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION
 WASHINGTON, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Australia has presented a complete text for a chemical weapons convention to the conference on disarmament in Geneva. The text is designed to accelerate negotiations in the hope that a convention can be completed this year.
 Presenting the text in Geneva yesterday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Gareth Evans, said that a complete chemical weapons convention (CWC) would be the most far-reaching multilateral arms control and disarmament achievement in history.
 He said he believed strongly that if the international community was able to make the same relatively small leaps of imagination that Australia had done in preparing a text, the result could be an instrument which would materially and significantly contribute to the security of all.
 Evans said fully 80 percent of the Australian text was drawn directly and unambiguously from agreed language being debated by the conference on disarmament. "So our text is not an alternative to the 'rolling text,'" he said. "Our text is no more and no less than an accelerated refinement of the rolling text.
 "An acceleration of negotiations could bring an instrument of self-protection quickly, which made good security and economic sense for Australia and for everyone in the international community.
 "Conversely, not to accelerate runs a tragic risk that there will slip away from us that opportunity for conclusion which the current international focus at this time on proliferation offers," Evans said. "If we are diverted, the window may close and leave us with a nearly finished convention for many years more."
 Evans said the heart of the proposed convention was an effective verification regime that retained a basic and non-negotiable requirement -- the spontaneity and immediacy of challenge inspection.
 The text envisaged shortened timetables, improved measures for securing the site, strengthened managed access procedures and the elimination of the concept that access was circumscribed by reference to national security concerns, legal obligations and proprietary rights.
 The provision concerning verification of the chemical industry needed to provide the flexibility to allow for future developments in the chemical industry and in verification technology.
 The proposed text was not overburdened with excessive detail, thus providing the proposed convention's secretariat with the flexibility to implement the verification of the chemical industry in the most practically effective and cost-effective manner.
 Evans told the conference on disarmament that Australia was not advancing its work at this time on a "take it or leave it" basis.
 "We understand very well that further refinement will undoubtedly be possible and may be desirable," he said.
 -0- 3/20/92
 /CONTACT: Christopher Sweeney of the Embassy of Australia, 202-797-3165/ CO: Embassy of Australia ST: District of Columbia IN: CHM ARO SU:


MH-DC -- DC011 -- 0079 03/20/92 12:04 EST
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Date:Mar 20, 1992
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