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16. Conventional arms control and security cooperation in Europe




Since the end of the cold war the OSCE participating states have addressed the new scope, tasks and role of conventional arms control in Europe. Preventive diplomacy, crisis management, and other forms of peace missions and arrangements seemed effectively to replace traditional arms control approaches in the new, cooperative environment. The first half of the 1990s was primarily a period of arms control implementation, and only the most necessary changes were made to accommodate agreements to the new circumstances.

In 1995 the need for arms control and security cooperation was emphasized regionally with the evident peacekeeping failure and the US-led enforced peace arrangements in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, Europe-wide, with the completion of the final reduction phase of the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (the CFE Treaty) and of the reductions agreed under the 1992 Concluding Act of the Negotiation on Personnel Strength of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (the CFE-1A Agreement). Conventional armaments were cut by nearly 50 000 heavy weapons. Along with massive Russian troop withdrawals from Central Europe and the Baltic states in 1994, this established an unprecedented core of military stability, transparency and predictability in Europe.

Against this generally positive background, adverse developments and a certain military assertiveness persist in Russia. The CFE flank dispute flared up in 1995, with repeated threats by the Russian military to withdraw from the treaty. The delayed NATO response resulted in a makeshift redrawing of the map, but this did not seem to satisfy Russia, which proposes sweeping changes aiming at renegotiation of the treaty. NATO insists on full implementation of the treaty, but enlargement of its membership to the east will call for a thorough reassessment and new approach to the conventional arms balance in Europe.

Facing the failure to stave off and resolve the conflicts raging in Eastern and South-eastern Europe, and unable to apply traditional arms control instruments, OSCE states have decided to give priority to developing a new framework for arms control. Intensive efforts have been thwarted by Russia, evidently seeking to avoid having its room for manoeuvre constrained with regard to the CFE Treaty and the arms control agenda, and the Budapest Ministerial Council meeting of December 1995 was unable to agree on the arms control framework. The need for arms control and security cooperation was emphasized regionally with the peacekeeping failure and the US-led enforced peace arrangements in Bosnia. The OSCE was given a more active arms control mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of 1995. Negotiations on regional arms control and CSBMs in and around the former Yugoslavia, if accompanied by strong political will and concerted efforts, stand a chance to help enhance mutual confidence, reduce the risk of conflict and inject stability into this conflict-ridden area.

'Old thinking' still prevails and there is still no clear-cut concept of how to apply arms control to subregional and internal conflicts. This conceptual failure stems from the lack of determined political leadership and from the fear of undermining or dismantling the existing European arms control and security foundations. The international community therefore continues to stick to its slightly modified instruments while facing new types of crisis and conflict and the concomitant urgent need to address them with new tools. Arms control will have to find a strong conceptual and practical footing as part of the process of fundamental transformation of security relations.

Classic arms control, with its emphasis on calculating balances, is neither helpful nor sensible in the face of the qualitatively different challenges and threats posed by the new security environment. With the collapse of the bloc division, the changes, mostly driven by budgetary squeezes, which are taking place in armed forces will make numerical balances increasingly unattainable and outdated. Subregional stability and arms control arrangements will make this even more difficult. Thus, cooperative, stability-enhancing measures, including coercive measures like those in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are gaining in prominence.

Despite expectations that the Open Skies Treaty would enter into force in 1995, the ratification process was held up by the failure of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to ratify the treaty.


Appendix 16A. The Vienna CSBMs in 1995



OSCE participants paid greater attention to CSBMs in 1995 and addressed a wider range of arms control issues. In addition to the provisions of the Vienna Document 1994 of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, they were bound by the mandate of the 1994 CSCE/OSCE Review Conference and Summit Meeting to strengthen implementation of CSBMs, with emphasis on regional stability and complementarity between regional and OSCE-wide approaches. Discussions in 1995 were marked by a more active assessment of the application and applicability of CSBMs and a search for future measures. The Dayton Agreement envisaged negotiation of a regional structure for stability, including CSBMs based on the Vienna Document 1994 and to be supplemented by regional CSBMs and measures for subregional arms control.


Appendix 16B. Foreign military presence in the OSCE area



Appendix 16B reviews foreign troop deployments and withdrawals in Europe and post-Soviet Central Asia in 1995. The focus of foreign military presence in the area of the OSCE has shifted from the centre of the Euro-Asian continent to its peripheries. The character and tasks of foreign troops have also been modified. Peacekeeping and peace-enforcement forces are deployed along the south-eastern and eastern rims of the OSCE area, from Bosnia to Central Asia. In the former Yugoslavia they constitute a cooperative security effort, in the CIS area their 'collective' security goals are ambivalent, with the neighbouring major power being the chief 'peacekeeper'. Apart from the declared tasks of protecting the southern borders of Russia and the CIS, they seem to be preparing the ground to strengthen the predominant military presence and political influence. In 1995 Russia made a series of moves to further uphold its military influence in the former Soviet republics. US and other allied military presence in Western Europe is steadily declining.