We abstained from today's vote as we do not wish to set a negative precedent in the use of Article Six of the BWC. We find an abstention necessary in order to safeguard the integrity of future good faith requests under Article Six.
Norway remains determined to uphold the total ban on biological weapons. Allegations of violations of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) are something we take seriously, and they merit our scrutiny.
Norway has meticulously reviewed the documents annexed to the Russian complaint under Article Six of the BWC. We note that it consists predominantly of assertions, interpretations, and conclusions by the Russian Federation itself. These same accusations were also dealt with in September during the formal Article Five consultations. Norway, then as now, reviewed the documents provided by Russia in detail, and we listened carefully to Russia, the US, and Ukraine. However, no evidence has been put forward.
In fact, contrary to Russia’s assertions, the documentation strongly suggests that the cited cooperation between the United States and Ukraine indeed has a legitimate, peaceful purpose. A purpose fully in line with the provisions on International Cooperation and Assistance in Article Ten of the BWC. It is therefore our firm conclusion that Russia has failed to demonstrate probable cause for further investigative steps. Russia's spurious allegations do not justify a request for a Security Council consideration in accordance with BWC Article Six.
It is deeply problematic that the State that has lodged the complaint with the Security Council itself has “taken the pen” and submitted the resolution that addresses the complaint. This process shows the importance of ensuring that the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for the Investigation of Alleged Uses of Chemical and Biological Weapons retains its independence and impartiality- free from the Security Council's veto mechanism.
I end with an appeal to the Russian Federation: to end its relentless campaign of disinformation, and stop congesting the Council’s agenda with patently unfounded requests related to the situation in Ukraine.