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Homeland Security

Security Council renews committee helping keep WMDs from terrorists

27 April 2006 Calling for intensified efforts to boost States' cooperation with measures to keep nuclear, chemical and biological weapons out of the hands of terrorists and black marketeers, the United Nations Security Council today extended the mandate of the committee overseeing the issue for a period of two years.

Through a unanimous resolution, the mandate of the so-called "1540" Committee - named after its 2004 Council resolution - which was due to expire tomorrow, was extended until 27 April 2008.

Resolution 1540 directs governments to establish effective accounting for and domestic controls of material that could be used to make nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. It also requires them to establish and maintain effective border and trans-shipment controls and appropriate law enforcement.

The Security Council established the 1540 Committee to monitor the implementation of the binding resolution, enacted under the UN Charter's Chapter VII, which allows for enforcement measures. All States are required to present reports on their efforts to execute its provisions.

In February, the Chairman of the Committee told Council that some 70 States were delinquent in such reporting.

Today's resolution charges the Committee to intensify its efforts to increase States' compliance through a new work programme that includes outreach, dialogue and technical assistance.

In his recent appearance before the Council, Committee Chairman Peter Burian urged total compliance with resolution 1540, warning that “all States were vulnerable to being used by non-State actors who might want to gain access to weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.”

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