GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- More can be done internationally to safeguard and prevent the spread of biological weapons, the U.N. secretary-general said from Geneva.
Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention met in Geneva to discuss ways to strengthen the agreement and encourage wide-spread implementation.
The convention opened for signature in 1972. It prohibits the development, production and stockpiling of biological weapons.
Ban said in a message to the delegates that there wasn't enough action on finding a comprehensive agreement on the convention.
He said, however, that the convention was successful at reducing risks associated with biological weapons and bioterrorism, notably by establishing the common ground that he said laid the foundation for broad action.
"While much is being done to promote assistance and cooperation for the peaceful uses of biological science and technology, more could still be done to improve coordination and communication," he said in his statements.
He pointed out that 13 states have signed the convention without ratifying it while 19 have yet to sign on to the convention at all.
"I call on those states that have not done so to sign and ratify the convention without further delay," he said.
More than 160 nations have signed and ratified the agreement.