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BIOSAFETY : US seeks to terminate negotiations

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Greenpeace International - Press Release


CARTAGENA, Colombia, February 22, 1999 --- Greenpeace today condemned
the destructive efforts by the United States to terminate
international negotiations on safeguards for the trade of genetically
modified organisms (GMO's), in particular grains such as Monsanto's
Roundup Ready soya beans.

Greenpeace called on other countries to continue the negotiations at
the Cartagena Biosafety meeting without the US, which only has
observer status as the US Senate have failed to ratify the
Biodiversity Convention.

The US, early Monday, refused every compromise put forward by other
countries and the meeting dissolved without agreeing on a negotiation
text for the Ministerial meeting due to start later today.

The US has refused to include commodities, such as soya beans and
corn, which are declared for consumption or processing and not
planting, in the negotiations. This accounts for more than 90 per cent
of world trade in GMO's. "The US has attempted to terminate the
Biosafety Protocol," said Greenpeace political advisor Louise Gale.
"It seems that the US, driven by the commercial interests of companies
such as Monsanto, is willing to threaten the world's biodiversity and
foregoing any international safeguards on the trade in GMO's."

"Millions more consumers would be denied a choice about what they eat
and now a majority of the world's national governments would now be
powerless to enforce this basic individual right," said Benny Haerlin
Greenpeace International GMO campaign coordinator. "Many of these
countries depend on food imports from major exporters such as the
United States, Canada and Argentina".

"A group of six countries - US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Chile
and Uruguay - is about to block the effort of the rest of the world's
170 nations to reach an agreement," said Gale. "The vast majority of
the countries here want the Protocol and EU and the G77 countries must
continue and make sure that the last two and half years have not been
wasted. The US, which is not even a party of these negotiations since
it has not ratified the Rio convention, came here only with one task
to torpedo the negotiations."

More information:
Louise Gale, Greenpeace International political advisor in Cartagena,
+57.3.752 85 53 Ben Haerlin ++49-30-30 889912 Mika Railo -Greenpeace
International press officer in Cartagena, +57.3.752 77 00 Jon Walter -
Greenpeace International press desk in Amsterdam, +31.20.5249 545

Greenpeace International
Genetic Engineering Campaign
Chausseestr. 131 - 10115 Berlin - Germany
phone: +49.30.308899.14
fax: +49.30.308899.30

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