VIENNA, 23 March 2011 – The 56 OSCE participating States today adopted a decision that aims to prevent surplus, expired or obsolete conventional ammunition from ending up in the hands of criminal or terrorist groups.
The decision, the first of its kind internationally, recommends destruction as the preferred method of disposal of such ammunition. In addition to preventing illegal trade of the ammunition, destruction also eliminates the risk of injuries or fatalities that could be caused by exploding ammunition.
"Excess conventional ammunition poses a problem in many OSCE participating States. Sometimes it is inadequately secured or guarded and is often in an unstable condition, representing a great risk," said Ambassador Stefan Skjaldarson of Iceland, which chairs the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, the body that adopted the decision. "Unsafe storage can mean that the ammunition may end up on illegal markets."
The decision states that in cases where participating States choose to export the ammunition instead of destroying it, they must do so in line with the strict OSCE principles governing conventional arms transfers. These principles specify criteria that must be considered before authorizing an export.
The Forum for Security Co-operation is one of the OSCE's regular decision-making bodies. It meets weekly in Vienna to discuss and make decisions regarding military aspects of security in the OSCE area, in particular confidence- and security-building measures.