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Biochemical Weapons

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 13 February 2003 to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Alan Simpson), Official Report, column 107W, what the biochemical weapons referred to by US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld on 5 February 2003 in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee are. [99673]

I understand US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in his evidence on 5 February to the US House Armed Services Committee, was referring to non-lethal Riot Control Agents. He went on to acknowledge that the United States has undertaken not to use any such Agents as a method of warfare. This prohibition applies to all States Parties to the CWC. Riot Control Agents are defined under the CWC as any chemical not listed in a Schedule which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure.