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8. Conventional arms control



I. Introduction

II. Conventional arms control in Europe: the CFE Treaty

III. The OSCE and conventional arms control

IV. Regional arms control in Europe

V. The Treaty on Open Skies

VI. Conventional arms control-related endeavours outside Europe

VII. Landmines

VIII. Conclusions


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Three major factors determined the status of conventional arms control in Europe in 2000. First, the breakthrough developments of 1999—the signing of the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (Agreement on Adaptation) and the Vienna Document 1999 of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in Europe—closed an important chapter in the adaptation of the main conventional arms control regimes of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to the current security environment. Second, ratification of the Agreement on Adaptation was virtually deadlocked (with the notable exceptions of ratifications by Belarus and Ukraine) over Russia’s non-compliance in Chechnya with the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty). In 2000 there was also concern regarding Russia’s fulfilment of its pledge to withdraw its armed forces from Georgia and Moldova. The third factor was Balkan security: events in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in the spring and summer of 2000 frustrated the regional arms control efforts in the Balkans. However, the defeat of President Slobodan Milosevic in the autumn election offered new hope for renewed cooperation and a change in both the subregional (the former Yugoslavia) and regional (South-East European) contexts.


Contrary to expectations for progress in European arms control, the year 2000 did not produce many advances, as the 1999 Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty was deadlocked by Russia’s CFE non-compliance. Less attention is being paid to conventional arms control because of the change of focus in international politics in the Euro-Atlantic area. However, the role of arms control in enhancing security and stability is still significant. It is of relevance to Russia’s security concerns and enables NATO to maintain the operational flexibility needed for its peace and stability-supporting missions. The change simply underscores the shift that has taken place in security-building priorities in recent years.


Instances of non-compliance with treaty terms continued in 2000, the most striking being the war in Chechnya, but these do not seem to have seriously affected the broader European political situation. The European Union and NATO have chosen to overlook the arms control-related shortcomings of the post-Soviet states while pursuing a policy of cooperative and inclusive security towards these states. Foreign military presence, such as that in Georgia and Moldova, creates concern more because of the complex political context than of the military threat. Discussions in the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation in 2000 showed limited interest in and produced little of substance related to the topic of its discussions on ‘the role of conventional arms control in Europe and the contribution of the OSCE arms control arrangements to European security’. Increasing attention is being paid to ‘soft’, broad regional security arrangements, including crisis management, conflict resolution and CSBMs, together with a growing emphasis on non-military measures and solutions.


The CFE and Vienna Document CSBM regimes function as umbrella accords under which various stabilizing arrangements can be tried in order to better cope with complex situations in crisis-prone and conflict-ridden regions and subregions. Regional arms control deals with security issues in these areas and must be based on the old balance-of-forces approach. The year 2000 witnessed progress, particularly in South-Eastern Europe. Following the success of both CSBMs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the subregional arms control agreements in the FRY, arms control efforts are being focused on the Balkans as a region.



Appendix 8A. Confidence- and security-building measures in Europe


Full text Appendix 8A [PDF].



Two major challenges have confronted the OSCE participating states in recent years: at the OSCE level, the applicability of CSBMs in adverse conditions (e.g., domestic conflict) and, at the regional level, the need for greater transparency and improved contacts and cooperation among states. There has been some success at both these levels. In Chechnya, for example, Russia allowed a precedent-setting multinational observation visit to be made to a ‘region of on-going military activities’. The visit fostered transparency and was deemed useful. As regards conflict prevention and crisis management, there is disagreement as to whether additional, more suitable, measures are needed or whether existing CSBMs should be more effectively utilized.



Appendix 8B. Documents on conventional arms control

Full text Appendix 8B [PDF].

This appendix reproduces the text of the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons.



Appendix 8C. European Union approaches to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament


Full text Appendix 8C [PDF].



During the Intergovernmental Conference that preceded the adoption of the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty) in 1993 the content of a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) was discussed. Arms control, non-proliferation, the control of arms exports and confidence and security building were all elements that were considered appropriate subjects for the CFSP.


On creating the EU the member states also decided to develop a common foreign and security policy, characterized by intergovernmental cooperation.


The arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts of the EU have two functions—one internal, one external. Internally, the measures are part of a process of building shared norms and agreed principles as the basis for the foreign and security policy implemented by each of the member states. Externally, in areas where strong shared norms already exist, the measures allow the EU member states to present a common political front to the world. It is questionable whether the EU initiatives in the area of arms control, disarmament, non-proliferation and export control have had the impact that could be expected in either the internal or external dimension.


Instruments introduced through the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam are still in an early stage of their operational life. The implementation of common strategies appears particularly challenging. While there are common strategy meetings at the working level, implementation of measures agreed in the framework of the common strategies is very fragmented. There is no ‘lead agency’ for interaction with Russia or Ukraine which could coordinate and monitor the implementation of the common strategies.


In the implementation of joint actions, there are sensitivities about moving resources from one account to another in the fulfilment of overall objectives. For example, technical assistance projects and science and technology cooperation with Russia and Ukraine are financed and managed through processes outside the framework of the non-proliferation programme within the common strategy. The money made available through joint actions cannot always be spent because the EU lacks the capacity to identify and evaluate specific projects that can meet stated objectives. The coming together of useful projects and the financial resources to implement them appears somewhat haphazard.


The progress towards developing shared norms and principles has been uneven. For example, far more progress has been made in the area of conventional arms exports than in other areas. Significant gaps could be pointed to in the lack of any well-developed EU positions on issues related to nuclear arms control and disarmament, missile proliferation and missile defence as well as conventional arms control in Europe.


In the external dimension, given the collective diplomatic and economic weight of the EU states, the results of the policies have been limited. To give specific examples, the impact of EU efforts to advance disarmament and non-proliferation objectives in the Middle East and South Asia is difficult to detect in spite of the long history of political and economic interaction with states in the regions.