VIENNA, 8 November 2006 - Developing national strategies and action plans to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ways of keeping them out of the reach of terrorist groups is the focus of an OSCE workshop taking place in Vienna today.
"The workshop highlights the importance of fully implementing Resolution 1540, which has imposed binding obligations on all States to take measures to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, means of delivery and related materials," said Ambassador Barbara Gibson of Canada, who chairs the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC), which organized the event. "The OSCE can lead the efforts to further implement the resolution regionally."
Ambassador Gregory Schulte, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said: "The OSCE has a role to play in promoting regional implementation of 1540. The FSC should also be applauded for focusing attention on the need for countries to prepare national implementation plans next year. We also believe that the OSCE, working with organizations like the IAEA and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, can compile and promote best practice guidelines for security and control of weapons of mass destruction material."
The 56 OSCE participating States have led the way internationally as a region by submitting their initial national reports to the UNSC Resolution 1540 Committee and, in most cases, have provided the Committee with additional materials.
"To meet their obligations under the resolution, most States still need to take several significant measures, including establishing legal prohibitions, implementing systems to account for, secure and physically protect sensitive materials, and developing appropriate and effective border and export controls. Our collective goal must be to ensure that, when the resolution is fully implemented, no State or non-State actor will be a source or beneficiary of WMD proliferation," added Ambassador Schulte.
"A terrorist incident involving WMD is widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent threats confronting all nations, and we know that terrorist groups continue to seek these deadly weapons. We must act now to ensure that these deadly weapons never fall in the hands of terrorists."
Ambassador Peter Burian, Chairman of the UNSCR 1540 Committee, added: "The workshop is an example of a useful regional approach to co-operation among neighbouring countries for strengthening security in Europe."
OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut; John Mattiussi, European Commission Directorate General for External Relations, and Mikhail Ulianov, Head of the Russian Delegation on Military Security and Arms Control, also took part in the event.