The independent resource on global security

14. Conventional arms control



I. Introduction

II. European arms control

III. Building confidence and stability

IV. Confidence-building efforts outside Europe

V. Mines and unexploded ordnance

VI. Conclusions


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The year 2006 was the seventh ‘lean year’ since the signing of the 1999 Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty). There were no signs of progress at the Third Review Conference of the Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Convention in May. The adapted CFE Treaty regime remained hostage to disagreements between Russia and Western states over political texts adopted at the 1999 Istanbul Summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). As a result, the entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation will remain stalled until Russia completes its promised military pullouts, especially from Moldova. At present, progress in conventional arms control seems virtually impossible due to Russia’s non-compliance with its own commitments, the political tug of war between Russia and the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), ‘arms control fatigue’ and the deteriorating status of the OSCE.


The OSCE participant states continued to consider, review and develop certain military-related efforts, including confidence- and stability-building measures and military doctrines, to improve capacity to meet the common and regional risks and challenges facing Europe. The 2006 Vienna military doctrine seminar enabled discussion and clarification of the current military security thinking and postures of the OSCE participants. It is to be hoped that it will give impetus to further doctrinal changes in response to rapid political and technological developments. Other steps in the fields of confidence building, transparency and stability enhancement in 2006 focused on the multiple dangers created by stockpiles of small arms and ammunition. In Latin America, there is sustained interest in putting confidence-building measures into practice.


The number of states adhering to the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mines Convention is rising, although there is concern that some parties to the convention seem likely to miss their current deadlines for the elimination of the landmine stockpiles. The successful entry into force in 2006 of Protocol V on explosive remnants of war of the 1981 CCW Convention, and developments at the Third CCW Convention Review Conference showed that, despite reluctance on the part of some powerful countries, interest in humanitarian efforts to contain the scourge of ‘inhumane weapons’ is steadily growing.