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Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 12:21 GMT
Albright marries science and diplomacy
AAAS
By BBC News Online's Damian Carrington in Washington DC

The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, believes science and technology must play an "integral role" in US international relations and world affairs in general.

AAAS Expo
"We live in a global era. From microbes to missiles, the threats we face could come from almost anywhere on Earth - international co-operation is essential," she told the world's biggest science festival in Washington DC.

 Listen to Madeleine Albright's speech

In a wide-ranging speech, she stated that she believed that the US would sign up to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which forbids the testing of nuclear weapons.

She said that US diplomats and scientists should ensure that the Global Positioning System should become the world's standard satellite navigation system.

She dismissed concerns from outside the US that genetically-modified (GM) foods could harm human health as "unsubstantiated", and addressed drug trafficking and the employment of former nuclear weapons scientists.

She promised a statement in March on how she intended to "enhance the State Department's ability to handle science and technology issues" and also committed herself to appointing a science advisor as soon as possible.

  • Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

    "Simply put, arms control is rocket science. And we must keep good rocket scientists in our midst if we hope to keep doing it well."

    "Because the science behind the treaty is sound, I am convinced that America will ultimately join the CBTB and thus help to ensure that the nuclear arms race becomes a relic of the 20th Century, not a recurring nightmare of the 21st."

  • Global Positioning System

    "In space, the GPS, based on US technology, is guiding millions of people all over the world. The US has a major stake in ensuring that GPS becomes the world standard.

    "Our diplomats are working to ensure that at a minimum, any other systems, including Europe's proposed Galileo, are compatible with GPS.

  • Genetically-modified crops

    "Biotech crops have tremendous potential to produce more and better food while using less land, water and pesticides.

    "At the same time, science tells us that biotechnology, like all technologies, may present risks.

    "But science does not support the 'Frankenfood' fears of some, particularly outside the US.

  • Middle East

    "In the Middle East, our diplomats work closely with scientists on water issues that are critical for a comprehensive peace."

  • Drug Trafficking

    "In the global fight against narco-trafficking, we have been helped by sound science on alternative crops to coca, marijuana and opium poppy."

  • Weapons scientists

    "In our science and technology centres, we engage former Soviet weapons scientists in civilian activities so they do not sell their skills to rogue states."

The Secretary of State's comments were made in a plenary lecture to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

See also:

18 Feb 00 | Washington 2000
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