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24 June 2004

Increased Efforts Needed in OSCE to Deal with Security Threats

U.S. delegate James Cox addresses annual Security Review Conference

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is actively addressing three major security threats and, although the pace of these efforts has increased, the organization should push itself to do more, says James Cox, the chief U.S. arms control delegate to the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference.

Speaking in Vienna, Austria, June 24, Cox focused on three areas: shoulder-launched missiles, known as MADPADS (man-portable air defense systems), small arms and light weapons, and stockpiles of ammunition and explosives.

Cox said one aspect of MANPADS that needs further discussion is a so-called "gap analysis." He defined this as "a thorough investigation of the entire process of manufacturing, numbering, documentation, storage, transfer or sale, and use or destruction" of MANPADS in order to identify gaps in the mechanisms for controlling such weapons.

Regarding small arms and light weapons, Cox pointed out the complexity of the issue and the need to find a common set of principles for dealing with these weapons, keeping in mind that "our goal is not to convert everyone in the OSCE to our own distinctive national practices."

Finally, he urged the OSCE to help those countries requesting assistance in destroying excess stockpiles of both small arms and conventional munitions. "Not long ago, we were reminded of the dangers these excess stockpiles present when one facility blew up in Ukraine," Cox said.

" We need to act now -- be it in association with other organizations or on our own. We must respond effectively to the requests before us," he said.

Following is a transcript of his remarks:

(begin transcript)

United States Mission to the OSCE


As delivered by James H. Cox, Chief U.S. Arms Control Delegate to the Annual Security Review Conference

Vienna, Austria
June 24, 2004

Mr. Coordinator:

The title of this session is Comprehensive Security, a Strategic View. Taking that strategic -- or more general -- view, I would like to outline some thoughts about the future challenges of the OSCE, focusing on security concerns.

From the beginning of this organization -- indeed, even before it was an organization -- the focus was on building the 'acquis' necessary to cope with the dominant threats to security at that time. As a result, the organization developed a robust set of CSBMs [Confidence- and Security-Building Measures] which, when considered alongside arms control treaties, have served well the cause of security and stability within the OSCE region. They continue to do so today, that is, they address the potential threats they were designed to deal with.

Turning to the very different contemporary security challenges we face, the OSCE has focused much of its energy in the last few years on combating terrorism. However, that work is not complete, as we would all agree. I sense that our pace of work in addressing the threats of our times has increased, but, while we should feel comfortable with what we have accomplished, we should also be pushing ourselves to do more.

In that vein, let me start with one of our most prized agreements, that of the Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons adopted in 2000. That document, hailed by the UN and other organizations as a leading effort in the world, has provided the backdrop for much of our work in the past year -- and for efforts which we will continue immediately after this review conference. I'd like to focus on three areas stemming from that document that have proven to be beneficial areas for further work in the FSC, thus enhancing OSCE's efforts in combating terrorism: MANPADS [Man-Portable Air Defense Systems], SALW (End-user Certificates and brokering), and Stockpiles of Ammunition and Explosives.

First, on MANPADS, as noted by Admiral Loy, this organization endorsed a G8 decision from a year ago to find ways to strengthen export controls on these weapons. Last month, the FSC endorsed stricter export controls on MANPADS agreed by the Wassenaar Arrangement in December of last year. This step, a notable one for the OSCE, "imported" the commitments made by another organization (the Wassenaar Arrangement) which -- by virtue of agreement reached in the Forum for Security Cooperation -- essentially doubled the number of nations that have pledged to hold themselves to these stricter controls. In addition, in January, the OSCE hosted a conference where we focused on the subject of the MANPADS threat to civil aviation.

We are ready to address further work in this area in the OSCE. For example, recently, a small group of delegates in the OSCE began informal deliberations on an analysis of the life-cycle of MANPADS in order to determine -- in a more systematic manner -- possible areas or aspects of MANPADS that we have not yet addressed -- a so-called "gap analysis". What do I mean by life-cycle or gap analysis? It is a thorough investigation of the entire process of manufacturing, numbering, documentation, storage, transfer or sale, and use or destruction of MANPADS to identify where we have strengthened the control regime -- and, more to the point, where there are still gaps in our work. We need to encourage this effort, to begin discussions as soon as feasible within the FSC in order to inform -- and seek input from experts in capitals -- so we can do more in this area.

Second, there are two aspects of the SALW document that are being developed right now -- Standard Elements for End-User Certificates (EUC), and norms for small arms brokering. The FSC is actively considering a draft decision regarding standard elements for SALW end-user certificates (EUC). This is important and difficult work -- as all those actively participating in the deliberations know. We need to keep in mind three things as we move this issue towards adoption:

-- First, this is complicated work. If it gets any tougher, we might need to convene a meeting of experts from capitals;

-- Second, it is very important for us to find common ground -- a common set of principles; and related to that,

-- Third, let us keep in mind that our goal is not to convert everyone in the OSCE to our own distinctive national practices.

The FSC is also deliberating on a food for thought paper regarding small arms brokering. Brokering holds both the promise and the challenges we are dealing with right now on our end-user certification discussion. Let us remember as we tackle these issues that the mere act of deliberating these issues -- and developing principles to guide our national practices -- brings the sort of positive attention and focus in our capitals to reduce the illicit activity associated with SALW.

After the EUC decision and brokering issues are concluded, we could also consider conducting an "enhancement-analysis" of the whole spectrum of all SALW efforts. To do so would allow us to continue to serve as a leading organization -- an example to both the UN and other regional bodies -- to find more and better ways to curb the illicit trafficking in small arms, and to increase the security of the SALW stored in our region.

Third, FSC work designed to assist participating states to destroy excess stockpiles of both small arms and conventional munitions is an area that could well transform the concept of security in the OSCE area fundamentally in the future. Such projects will increase -- not decrease -- the profile of the OSCE in countries still dealing with these dangerous excess stockpiles. We already have requests from three countries requesting assistance. It is important that we continue to coordinate closely among the Forum for Security Cooperation, the OSCE's Conflict Prevention Center, the Permanent Council and the Field Missions to develop and conduct excess munitions and SALW projects. Not long ago, we were reminded of the dangers these excess stockpiles present when one facility blew up in Ukraine. We need to act now -- be it in association with other organizations or on our own. We must respond effectively to the requests before us.

In sum, to borrow an analogy from mining, we have found a pure vein of gold in our overall SALW and excess stockpiles documents. We must work together closely and carefully to extract the ore from these documents in a way that reaps future security benefits for all OSCE participating States. The OSCE has several tasks before it which we already know have attracted the attention of other regional bodies and the UN. More importantly, these efforts address real -- and current -- concerns of our participating States. Redoubling our efforts now in the MANPADS, SALW, and excess stockpiles areas will further enhance the security 'acquis' of our organization tomorrow.

Mr. Coordinator, I hope I have provided not just a summary of our continuing work on SALW, but also some thoughts for further discussion this morning.

Thank you.

(end transcript)