by Steven Ertelt
October 20, 2004
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — If South Korea has its way, the United Nations will delay for another year on whether to approve a conference to draft a treaty banning all forms of human cloning.
The proposal by the Asian nation is seen as an effort to compromise between a large U.S.-Costa Rica led contingent wanting a full ban and European nations that want to use human cloning for research.
South Korean UN envoy Hahn Myung-jae told Reuters he proposed the idea on Monday to U.S. diplomats. Under the delay, a stem cell research conference would convene in February to discuss whether a total human cloning ban would cause problems for such research.
Led by the United States and Costa Rica, some 60 nations are rallying around a measure that advocates banning human cloning both for reproductive purposes as well as research. However, Belgium and other European nations are rallying a smaller group of countries in opposition.
Leading members of the coalitions attended Monday’s meeting between the U.S. and South Korea. Also present were representatives of Belgium, Britain, and Japan, who favor the cloning for research, and diplomats from Portugal and Uganda, who want all cloning banned.
According to a Reuters report, six of the nations present agreed with the South Korean proposal while Costa Rica balked at further delaying a ban. U.S. diplomats did not commit to a delay and promised a response after consulting with Bush administration officials.
Moroccan U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Bennouna, chairman of the U.N. General Assembly’s treaty-writing legal committee, supports another one year delay.
The U.S. presidential race may dictate how nations line up on a potential vote on the human cloning ban proposal. Some nations may agree to wait another year in order not to offend the eventual winner of the November election.
Some member nations who might be inclined to vote for the cloning ban, including many Islamic countries that often vote pro-life, also say they are less reluctant to side with the United States on controversial political issues because of the U.S. involvement in Iraq.
Costa Rica’s U.N. Ambassador Bruno Stagno says research cloning is a concern that he hopes will prompt member nations to ban it.
"I think once people study the science and the latest breakthroughs and developments, people will come to understand that human cloning is in the extreme, worrisome," he told Voice of America news service.
Stagno said that stem cell research would not be prohibited by his country’s proposal and he said countries favoring research cloning have yet to provide proof that it helps patients.
In a September speech, President Bush endorsed the complete ban on human cloning.
"In this session, the U.N. will consider a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica calling for a comprehensive ban on human cloning. I support that resolution and urge all governments to affirm a basic ethical principle: No human life should ever be produced or destroyed for the benefit of another," he said.
The issue has divided the U.S. presidential candidates with Senator John Kerry co-sponsoring a Senate bill, SB303, that allows scientists to clone and kill human beings for research.