The government, facing allegations it allowed exports that helped Libya and Iraq develop poison gas, said Saturday it wants this week's Geneva Conference on Disarmament to ban chemical weapons.
The 40-nation conference begins Tuesday in Geneva."The federal government hopes that the Geneva negotiations lead to a worldwide, comprehensive and unqualified ban on the development and production, possession, acquisition, proliferation and use of chemical weapons," said government spokesman Friedhelm Ost.
The meeting's secretary-general, Milan Komatina, told reporters in Geneva that Libya and Syria have asked to join in the conference and that he does not expect objections from the participants.
Washington says Libya has built a chemical weapons plant in the desert city of Rabta with the help of West German firms.
Komatina, a Yugoslav, spoke Friday at end of a two-week closed-door session of the Disarmament Conference's special working group that is preparing a treaty that would ban chemical weapons.
He said there is a positive climate for the talks because of France's decision to drop its proposal that each country be allowed to hold limited "security stocks" during the 10-year treaty period when chemical weapons should be destroyed.
Ost said West Germany sought a chemical weapons ban since 1954 and nearly three years ago asked the United States to remove its chemical weapons from the country no later than 1992.
But Ost made no mention in his statement of an escalating controversy over West German firms' shipments of equipment to Iraq and Libya that were apparently used to produce chemical weapons.