13 May 2002 23:02 [Source: ICIS news]
HAVANA (CNI)--Former US President Jimmy Carter visited Cuba's prized biotechnology centre on Monday and told Cuban scientists the US government has no evidence to back up claims that Cuba is developing bioweaponry.
Carter told scientists and Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the biotech centre: "I asked them [US officials] specifically on more than one occasion if there was any evidence that Cuba had been involved in sharing any information to any other country on earth that could be used for terrorist purposes. The answer from our experts on intelligence was 'no'."
In remarks made late last week by high-ranking US State Department officials, the US charged that communist Cuba is using its fairly advanced biotechnology industry to aid other countries in the development of biological weapons.
Cuba has hotly denied those charges.
On Sunday, Castro told Carter in his welcoming remarks that the former president would have complete access to any place or persons he wished to visit.
Carter is in the second day of a six-day visit to Cuba made at Castro's invitation. He is the first US president or ex-president to visit Cuba since Castro came to power 1 January 1959.
The Cuban biotech centre is one of Castro's showcase projects. It has developed 150 patented medicines, including vaccines for hepatitis B and meningitis B which Cuba markets globally. Scientists at the biotech centre are working on vaccines for Aids and Lyme disease in animals, according to the Cuban government. The Cuban biotech industry is considered very advanced for a developing country.
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