US to Boost Toxic Arsenal

PRESIDENT Bush has decided to continue US production of chemical weapons even after a new multilateral treaty on their eventual destruction takes effect, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Mr. Bush made no mention of this reported decision when he told the United Nations last month he favored immediate steps to ``halt and reverse'' the threat of chemical weapons.

The plan to continue making chemical weapons would conflict with a consensus among the roughly 40 nations involved in Geneva treaty negotiations that all output of poison gas should cease, when the pact takes effect, as a step toward the weapons' total elimination. The newspaper reported that Bush's decision was confirmed by several unnamed US officials.

The Post quoted several independent analysts as criticizing Bush's reported decision on the ground it likely would encourage other countries to match the US effort.

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