FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          AG
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1997                        (202) 616-2777
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


       STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO IN SUPPORT
                OF THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION


     "In the next two months the Senate will decide whether to give
its consent to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention.  As many of
you know, the Convention will ban the development, production,
stockpiling, transfer, and use of deadly chemical weapons--weapons
the United States is already eliminating anyway.

     "More than 160 countries have signed on to the Convention, and
nearly 70 have already ratified it.  President Clinton does not
want our nation to be left on the sidelines, and neither do I. 
While this is primarily an arms control treaty that will reduce the
amount of these deadly weapons worldwide, it is also a tool that
will have an effect on law enforcement here at home.

     "Terrorists today will use whatever weapons they can get their
hands on.  Four years ago this week, a truckload of explosives took
six lives and injured hundreds of others at the World Trade Center. 
Just two years ago, terrorists released a chemical weapon, deadly
sarin gas, in the crowded Tokyo subway killing 12 and wounding
thousands.

     "We can never eliminate such a threat.  But we can make it
harder for terrorists to threaten us, and save lives in the
process.

     "First, under the Convention, member countries will be
required to eliminate chemical weapons that they possess, and to
account for certain so-called precursor chemicals they produce or
transfer.  And by restricting trading in certain chemicals with
non-party nations, the Convention will discourage manufacturers
from doing business with rogue regimes.  This means fewer chemical
weapons, greater scrutiny over production, and a better chance to
detect the transfer of dangerous precursor chemicals.

     "Secondly, it will improve the sharing of information among
law enforcement agencies worldwide, giving American law enforcement
more early warnings that can help prevent an attack and save lives. 

     "Finally, member nations will enact criminal laws to implement
the Convention's ban on developing, stockpiling, producing,
transferring or using chemical weapons.  Right now many countries
only outlaw the use of chemical weapons.  These new laws will help
law enforcement agencies worldwide to investigate and prosecute
chemical weapons-related activities and improve chances of
detecting terrorists before they strike.

     "The Senate should consent to ratify the Chemical Weapons
Convention, as President Clinton is urging, so that we can join the
international community in outlawing these terrible weapons once
and for all, and give our law enforcement community one more tool
to combat chemical terrorism."

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97-087