Head of the Armenian delegation to the OSCE, Amb. Jivan Tabibian (left), chairs the Forum for Security and Co-operation in Vienna, 26 May 2004. Varuzhan Nersessian, of the Armenian delegation, looks on. (OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)
VIENNA, 26 May 2004 - In a significant move to reduce the risk of terrorists getting their hands on portable missiles that can bring down civil and military aircraft, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has taken a decision to tighten export controls on so-called MANPADS.
At its 423rd meeting today, the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) decided unanimously to adopt principles developed under the Wassenaar Arrangement, a smaller group of nations that have agreed to promote transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.
"We have recognised the threats posed by unauthorised proliferation and use of man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), especially to civil aviation, peace-keeping, crisis management and anti-terrorist operations", said Armenian Ambassador Jivan Tabibian, whose country currently holds the Chairmanship of the FSC.
By this decision, the 55 participating States of the OSCE agree to incorporate these principles into their national practices and regulations. Any infringement of export control legislation, related to MANPADS, will be a criminal offence.
The States will report transfers of MANPADS, categorised in the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons as portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems, by making use of the OSCE's own SALW Information Exchange requirements.
"We are determined to contribute to reducing the risk of diversion of small arms and light weapons on to the black market", said the FSC Chairman. "This decision is in line with the commitments undertaken by the OSCE at Maastricht in December, when we adopted the OSCE Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the 21st Century."
The OSCE would be using all the tools at its disposal to address the proliferation of MANPADS, he added. "The participating States will review the implementation of these principles on regular basis."
As well as invoking these principles to enhance effective export control of small arms and light weapons including MANPADS in the OSCE area, the 55 States will also try to promote their application to non-OSCE countries.