cnn reports us pushes ban on stem cell cloning
U.S. pushes global ban on stem cell cloning
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Talks at the United Nations appear to have failed to avert a new U.N. confrontation over a U.S.-led drive to ban all cloning of human embryos including for stem cell research, diplomats said Thursday.
As a result a General Assembly panel is headed for a close vote next week on a plan for an anti-cloning treaty put forward by the United States and Costa Rica.
But with support for the plan seen fading in the assembly's treaty-writing Legal Committee, a last-minute compromise could yet be reached to avert an up-or-down vote, the envoys said.
A group of countries led by Belgium opposes the plan for a U.N. treaty. It is broad enough that it would ban cloning human embryos for stem cell or similar research -- known as "therapeutic cloning" -- as well as the cloning of human beings.
That group has suggested the committee adopt instead a declaration of principle leaving policy decisions on research cloning to individual governments.
But three weeks of negotiations, which began before the November 2 U.S. elections in which stem cell research was a major issue, have failed to lead to a compromise between the Belgian-led group and the rival group led by the United States and Costa Rica, diplomats said.
"The negotiations are continuing, but a lot of people seem to be resigned to a vote. It seems there is no possibility to reach an agreement," said one diplomat close to the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In the absence of a deal, the committee has scheduled a vote for November 19, assembly spokesman Djibril Diallo said.
Plans for a U.N. treaty on cloning have been bottled up in the United Nations since 2001.
While all U.N. members essentially agree on a treaty that would ban the cloning of human beings, there is strong support in many nations for the use of cloned human embryos to make stem cells for medical research.
Many scientists argue the technique holds out the hope of a cure for hundreds of millions of people with such diseases as Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes and spinal cord damage.
But Washington and others seeking to ban all forms of human cloning say therapeutic cloning is the taking of human life.
The Legal Committee last year decided by a one-vote margin to delay the writing of any treaty on cloning, concluding it would be unwise to begin drafting when there was no international consensus on its goals.
The Bush administration is now again pressing for the assembly to adopt a resolution instructing U.N. treaty writers to draft a total cloning ban.
Since last year, however, several blocs have announced their opposition to a new vote if the committee remained divided. They have suggested the panel either find a compromise acceptable to all, or reject the U.S.-Costa Rica plan in favor of an additional delay.
Bernard Siegel, a Florida attorney organizing a global drive to defend therapeutic cloning, called it "flat-out wrong to condemn this kind of research when so many people want it."
"Scientists and patient groups around the world are going to make a major effort over the next week to fight for therapeutic cloning research to advance," he told Reuters.
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I think it's amazing the US would control stem cell research world-wide and not be able to control it in California.