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Statement on Transnational Issues

Houston, 10 July 1990


We, the Heads of State or Government, reaffirm our condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, our commitment to make no concessions to terrorists or their sponsors, and our resolve to continue to cooperate in efforts to combat terrorism. We demand that those governments which provide support to terrorists end such support immediately. We are determined not to allow terrorists to remain unpunished, but to see them brought to justice in accordance with international law and national legislation.

We welcome the recent release of several hostages, but remain deeply concerned that hostages are still being held, some for more than five years. Their ordeal and that of their families must end. We call for the immediate, unconditional and safe release of all hostages and for an accounting of all persons taken hostage who may have died while being held. We call on those with influence over hostage-takers to use their influence to this end.

We note with deep concern the continuing threat presented to civil aviation by terrorist groups, as demonstrated by such outrages as the sabotage of civil aircraft over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988, above Niger on September 19, 1989, and over Colombia on November 27, 1989. We reiterate our determination to fight terrorist assaults against civil aviation.

Accordingly, we will continue our cooperation to negotiate a convention requiring the introduction of additives into plastic explosives to aid in their detection. We pledge to work to strengthen international civil aviation security standards. Consistent with this objective, we note the importance of making available training and technical assistance to other nations. We support initiatives undertaken through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding this issue. We will work together with ICAO to expand such assistance.

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We discussed the threat to international security posed by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and of ballistic missile weapons delivery systems.

With regard to nuclear proliferation, we take special note of the recent declaration issued by the European Council in Dublin on that subject. That document underscored the great importance attached to the maintenance of an effective international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the need to make every effort to contribute to strengthening non-proliferation and encouraging the participation of further countries in the regime. The Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is an important element of that regime. We further endorse the EC's call for all states to apply IAEA safeguards on as universal a basis as possible.

We also urge all nuclear suppliers to adopt nuclear export control measures equivalent to the Nuclear Suppliers Group Guidelines.

Whether NPT parties or not, we commit ourselves to working actively to secure a satisfactory outcome to nuclear non-proliferation discussions in the forthcoming months, including those at the Fourth Review Conference of the NPT.

We hope that these discussions will contribute to the achievement of as broad a consensus as possible in favor of an equitable and stable non-proliferation regime. Such a regime should be based on an indispensable balance between the non-proliferation of arms and the development of peaceful and safe uses of nuclear energy.

The global community has focused for decades on nuclear proliferation, especially when combined with advanced missile delivery systems. Today we also face new and growing problems from the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

With regard to chemical and biological proliferation, we commit ourselves to pursue efforts to prevent the diversion of chemical precursors at a national level, as well as in the relevant Western fora. We similarly commit ourselves to be vigilant about the danger of potential diversions in the field of biological technologies.

We endorse a complete ban on chemical weapons, through an effective and verifiable treaty, as the only long-term guarantee against the proliferation of chemical weapons. We believe an important step toward achieving such a treaty was made in the recent U.S.-Soviet agreement on destruction and non-production of chemical weapons and the recent declaration of intent by NATO states to become original signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention. We reiterate our determination, first expressed at the 1989 Paris Conference on Chemical Weapons, to redouble the effort at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to resolve the remaining issues and to conclude the Convention at the earliest date. We also urge all states to become parties as soon as it is concluded. Similarly, as the 1991 Review Conference on the Biological Weapons Convention approaches, we call on all nations that have not become party to the Convention to do so and to participate in confidence-building measures designed to strengthen its effectiveness.

We wish to highlight the importance of dealing with the related threat of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. We note especially the contribution of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) to our joint efforts to control missile proliferation. We applaud the recent decisions of additional nations to adhere to the MTCR, and we call upon all nations to observe the MTCR Guidelines.

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Source: Released by the Houston Economic Summit, 10 July 1990.

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