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Data needed to prove cloned-baby claim: UN • Saturday December 28, 2002

AFP, Dec. 28, 2002

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations adopted a cautious stance toward the announcement on Friday that the first cloned human baby had been born, insisting the claim could not be proven without hard scientific data.

Asked to comment on the announcement by adherents to the Raelian movement that the first cloned baby girl was born on Thursday Fred Eckhard, a spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, said: “We heard about this claim, but in the absence of scientific data, we can’t automatically accept it as a fact.

“No one should expect the secretary general to send flowers.”

Claiming some 55,000 followers in 84 countries, the Raelians believe aliens created life on Earth when they arrived in spaceships 25,000 years ago, and they insist that humans themselves were created by cloning.

A French and German-sponsored resolution banning reproductive human cloning was blocked this fall in the UN by a coalition organised by the United States and the Vatican — both of which support a total ban on human cloning.

Like the Vatican, the administration of President George W Bush believes that from the moment of conception, an embryo is a human being who must not be destroyed or killed.

Bush wants the US Congress to pass legislation banning all human cloning, the White House said on Friday after a cult announced it had produced a baby girl through cloning.

“The president believes, like most Americans, that human cloning is deeply troubling and he strongly supports legislation banning all human cloning,” said Bush spokesman Scott McClellan.

“Despite the widespread skepticism among scientists and medical professionals about today’s announcement, it underscores the need for the new Congress to act on bipartisan legislation to ban all human cloning,” he said.

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