Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: Stephen G. Rademaker
Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control - State Department

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Mister Chairman, distinguished members of the Helsinki Commission, I would like to build on the information just presented by my colleague, Assistant Secretary Beth Jones, by addressing, in a bit more detail, some of the security issues facing the OSCE today. I will focus on some of the work being done in the OSCE’s Forum for Security Cooperation, or FSC, highlighting the role played by the U.S. Chairmanship of the FSC in late 2003.

Let me mention a few of the security issues we are looking at. Arms control, disarmament and confidence- and security-building measures, or CSBMs; security dialog; Code of Conduct; non-proliferation; terrorism; small arms and light weapons; ammunition stockpiles; MANPADS. Some of these are very familiar to Commission members, as they were addressed by the Helsinki Final Act. Others reflect new concerns in the 21st century. But all are part of the FSC agenda.

Since the FSC was established by the 1992 Helsinki Summit to strengthen security and stability within the OSCE community of states it has done just that. Its work program and the fundamental tasks outlined therein reflect the FSC’s commitment to transparency and stability in the traditional political-military sphere of security, where conventional armed forces are involved or affected. The challenge for the political-military dimension in recent years has been to broaden the scope of work to be able to address the range of threats and security issues facing us in the 21st century while, at the same time, complementing the work of the OSCE’s Permanent Council in these areas. Let me describe how the FSC is facing both of these aspects under its responsibility.

One enduring legacy of the political-military dimension of the OSCE is the range of CSBMs in place in Europe and Eurasia today. The first such measures date back to Basket One of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, and the most recent are set forth in the Vienna Document 1999. Implementation of arms control agreements and CSBMs is not a single event frozen in time; it requires constant nurturing and attention. OSCE is a forum designed to provide that enduring attention. Delegations are encouraged to raise implementation issues during FSC meetings, which take place weekly. In addition, the FSC holds annually in March an Implementation Assessment Meeting to review the record of implementation of the Vienna Document and other OSCE security commitments.

The record of implementation and discussions during these annual meetings shows that the Vienna Document 1999 is functioning well and is effectively fulfilling its intended purpose of providing a useful mechanism to enhance transparency and build confidence among the participating states. You are aware that the range of measures in the Vienna Document allows OSCE states to share information about the size of their military forces and defense budgets, and also provides an opportunity to show how some of those forces operate. The underlying premise of these CSBMs, of course, is that transparency about another state’s military forces and activities will allow states to avoid possible misinterpretations regarding those forces. We see the success of these measures in their continued, and increased, implementation each year. More states are now conducting Vienna Document inspections and evaluation visits – and not just those countries we think of as traditional arms control states. Just last week, for instance, Albania conducted an inspection in Sweden. The continued importance of maintaining a level of transparency about military forces is reflected in the institution of a number of regional and bilateral arrangements within the OSCE region that complement the Vienna Document by providing for more extensive exchanges of information and additional verification opportunities.

The Vienna Document 1999 and other OSCE documents and commitments deal with the whole OSCE area and all OSCE states. However, some documents of key importance for military security in Europe were adopted by – and apply only to – some of the OSCE participating States. This is the case with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, or CFE, and the Treaty on Open Skies. While implementation of these two Treaties is discussed in fora outside of the OSCE, OSCE states have long recognized that vigorous implementation of this type of security agreement can have a positive impact on overall security and stability in Europe, not just the security of those states that are parties to these agreements. Accordingly, OSCE member states regularly address the importance of these two treaties in Ministerial and Summit declarations.

Let me focus briefly on CFE. You will recall that the CFE Treaty, signed in November 1990, established parity in major conventional forces and armaments between East and West – that is, between NATO and the Warsaw Pact – from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. In November 1999, the 30 CFE States Parties signed the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe at the OSCE Istanbul Summit. A/CFE, as we refer to the Adaptation Agreement, would supercede the CFE Treaty to take account of the evolving European geo-strategic environment and the end of the Cold War. Following entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation, other OSCE participating States with territory in the geographic area between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains will be able to apply for accession to the Treaty.

At the time A/CFE was signed, Russia made certain commitments to withdraw military forces and equipment from Georgia and Moldova. Specifically, Russia promised at Istanbul to withdraw its CFE treaty-limited equipment, or TLE, from Moldova by the end of 2001 and its forces from Moldova by the end of 2002. With regard to Georgia, Russia promised to withdraw or destroy CFE TLE in Georgia in excess of agreed levels by the end of 2000, to withdraw from and disband two military bases (Vaziani and Gudauta) by July 2001, and to negotiate with Georgia the duration and modalities of other Russian military bases (Batumi and Akhalkalaki) and facilities.

The United States and our NATO Allies, as well as a number of other Treaty partners, have agreed that we will not move to ratify A/CFE until Russia fulfills its Istanbul Summit commitments regarding withdrawal of its forces from Georgia and Moldova. Recognizing the magnitude of this undertaking, the OSCE agreed to establishment of a voluntary fund in order to help with the costs associated with the Russian military withdrawal. As I’m sure you are aware, the Unite States has contributed significantly to this fund.

Unfortunately, after nearly five years and despite this assistance from the international community, Russia has not yet met its Istanbul commitments. Russia needs to complete withdrawal of its military forces from Moldova as soon as possible and to reach agreement with the Georgian Government on the withdrawal of its remaining forces on Georgian territory. Russia remains eager to bring the A/CFE agreement into force, as evidenced by the Russian State Duma’s approval in June of a bill ratifying A/CFE – which was signed into law by President Putin on July 19th. We anticipate that Russia will formally deposit its instrument of ratification of A/CFE in the near future, and then reinvigorate efforts to persuade other CFE states parties to do likewise. Our position is clear, however: there is no shortcut to entry into force of the A/CFE agreement that does not involve full implementation by Russia of the Istanbul commitments. We will continue to urge NATO states to remain firm in pressing for Russian fulfillment of its obligations and to withdraw its forces from both Georgia and Moldova, and we will continue working with the OSCE and other partners to facilitate such withdrawal.

In addition to reviewing implementation of the Vienna Document 1999 and relevant security agreements, the FSC has played a role in developing norms and standards with respect to the political-military dimension. The most significant of these is the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security adopted by the 1994 Budapest Summit. The Code describes the proper role of the armed forces in a democracy, including civilian control, the necessity for transparency and public access to information related to the armed forces, and the importance of adherence to international humanitarian law. Each year at the FSC, OSCE states provide information on their implementation of the Code of Conduct. This FSC work on the Code of Conduct is augmented by seminars and other events conducted by the OSCE Secretariat and individual states – typically in southeast Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus – to promote adherence to the principles contained in the Code of Conduct.

The FSC continues to execute effectively its tasks related to conventional armed forces. A significant level of transparency already has been achieved, but this does not mean we no longer need these tools. In fact, the continued successful implementation of these measures provides a fundamental support for the existing stability among OSCE states. The biggest challenge for the FSC in recent years has been to find a way to address new threats and issues while still addressing these “traditional” responsibilities. It was against this backdrop that the U.S. took its turn as Chairman of the FSC from September through December 2003.

A major focus of work in the OSCE last fall was development of the OSCE’s Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the Twenty-First Century, approved at the Maastricht Ministerial last December. In considering the political-military dimension for development of that Strategy, we emphasized the need to broaden the FSC’s focus to incorporate new threats and challenges into its already established arms control and CSBM portfolio. The reasons why are simple. Traditional arms control and CSBM measures address inter-state relations and the lawfully constituted armed forces of those states. However, the new threats to security and stability we face in the OSCE region tend to be of an entirely different character: threats posed by non-state actors, threats emerging outside the OSCE region and exported into it, and threats which are generally not of a conventional military nature, but rather threats of terrorism, proliferation, or organized crime. One could say that we have entered a period in the OSCE when the threats on our borders have diminished, but increasingly we have no borders on our threats.

Building on the work of the OSCE to frame its new Strategy document, the U.S. wanted to enhance the security dialog task of the FSC to broaden the Forum’s focus during our chairmanship. The advantage of the security dialog function is that it allows the FSC to thoroughly explore and discuss a topic with no predetermined expectation of follow-up action, such as agreement on new measures. As a result, the FSC can frame the dialog, as appropriate, for any particular topic. The U.S. Mission, working closely with Washington agencies, used our Chairmanship to reinvigorate the security dialog and make it a more useful tool for the OSCE. We focused on three areas that would address U.S. security concerns and help OSCE participating states as well: non-proliferation, the man-portable air defense systems – or MANPADS – threat, and Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness.

First, non-proliferation. During our Chairmanship, and working with subsequent FSC Chairman, the U.S. arranged for a number of sessions that allowed OSCE states to be made aware of the risks, challenges and on-going efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the OSCE Actions against Terrorism Unit were among those providing insights into the non-proliferation activities of other international organizations. The FSC does not want to impede these ongoing efforts in any way, but remains seized of the issue in order to determine whether and how it can contribute to non-proliferation activities already undertaken by others.

Second, MANPADS. The FSC has led OSCE efforts to address the threat from MANPADS. In 2003, the OSCE took action in response to the G-8 decision at its meeting at Evian, France, regarding effective and comprehensive controls for MANPADS. The FSC called upon participating states to use existing mechanisms under the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons – or SALW – to destroy excess MANPADS and to ensure their security and avoid illicit transfers. In 2004, the FSC continued its search for a meaningful contribution to address the MANPADS threat. The result of these efforts was adoption by the OSCE of the Wassenaar Arrangement’s Elements for Export Controls of MANPADS. This action by the OSCE almost doubled the number of countries that had agreed to apply these stringent controls on MANPADS. The membership of the OSCE permits it to make a unique contribution to global security initiatives. Sometimes, as was the case with export controls for MANPADS, the OSCE can build on work done by smaller or specialized organizations, resulting in a wider application of valuable agreements. At other times, the OSCE can build on global initiatives, adding European/Eurasian specificity and setting an example for other regions. As with non-proliferation, the FSC will keep MANPADS on its agenda and continue to search for further contributions.

Third is the issue of Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness. Under U.S. Chairmanship, the FSC hosted a day-long discussion on this topic which is increasingly important in today's world. Under Secretary Brown of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided the keynote presentation. A rich array of speakers from the UN, NATO, the EU and a number of countries elaborated on their programs and suggested ways in which the OSCE might play a non-duplicative role. The goal of this particular dialog session was to share information and expose OSCE delegations to the range of issues associated with emergency preparedness – in other words, to provide transparency. Delegations welcomed the straightforward approach of the participants and did not worry about trying to devise new OSCE standards. It is possible that related discussions may occur at a later time in the FSC, but nothing is currently on the agenda. Bringing this topic to the security dialog demonstrated a key aspect of the FSC’s security dialog: knowledgeable experts may engage in substantive discussion in a setting that may or may not lead to follow-on activity.

Before concluding, let me turn to yet another aspect of the work of the FSC with the potential for tangible results.

You may recall that in November 2000, the FSC adopted the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons. As with several other FSC documents, this one establishes norms and standards for the OSCE states, as well as transparency measures related to exchanges of information. In 2003, the FSC endorsed voluntary contributions by a number of participating States to produce eight “best practice guides” to elaborate on specific aspects of the Small Arms Document. For ease of use, these guides were published as a single reference document, the OSCE Handbook of Best Practices on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which is available in all six OSCE languages.

At present, the FSC continues work to enhance the standards set by the Small Arms Document, with the immediate focus on establishing common standards for end-user certificates when exporting small arms and light weapons. This will greatly improve the ability of OSCE states to verify the end-use and end-user of any exported small arms. Initiated by the U.S., the actual proposal before the FSC was co-sponsored by Russia, Turkey, Hungary and Finland (representing the European Union), demonstrating the widespread interest among OSCE states in building on the standards set by the Small Arms Document. A related task on the FSC agenda is to establish principles to govern the brokering of small arms and light weapons. Illicit brokering is recognised as among the main factors facilitating the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons around the world. Only some 20 countries worldwide have national legislation in place in this field. Development of this set of principles by the FSC will enhance existing initiatives and efforts at the national, regional and global levels and allow for increased international cooperation in preventing, combating and eradicating illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons.

Another key element of the OSCE Small Arms Document is that it provides a basis for the OSCE, through the Permanent Council and the FSC, to respond to requests for assistance on a range of small arms issues, such as security and management of stockpiles, disposal of small arms, and border controls to reduce illicit trafficking in small arms. The FSC developed a plan of action for responding to such requests that was subsequently endorsed by the Permanent Council. With this procedure in place, OSCE states have begun to request OSCE assistance in destroying and controlling excess small arms. A request from Belarus in 2003 resulted in the visit of an OSCE assessment team to Minsk to determine the viability of an OSCE small arms project there. Despite Belarus’ lamentable human rights record, the U.S. decided to participate in this assessment visit and use it as an opportunity to advance efforts to control (and destroy excess) MANPADS. A project team is being organized to begin work on a specific project plan for Belarus, and we are making every effort to ensure that its mandate includes destruction of MANPADS. In the meantime, the OSCE will begin to examine the latest request for small arms assistance – received from Tajikistan in July of this year.

A major accomplishment of the U.S. Chairmanship of the FSC in 2003 was completion of its work on the OSCE Document on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition. As you know, there are huge quantities of excess munitions remaining from the end of the Cold War, mainly in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Following on its work with small arms, the FSC was the obvious body to address the security risk arising from stockpiles of conventional ammunition, explosive material and detonating devices in surplus and/or awaiting destruction in the OSCE area. The OSCE Stockpiles Document, as it is more commonly known, establishes a mechanism that allows participating States to request international assistance to either destroy or better manage and secure these stockpiles. The Stockpiles Document is the newest tool in our box and emphasizes the FSC’s interest in finding concrete and practical solutions to ongoing security issues in the OSCE region. The OSCE has already received requests for assistance under the Stockpiles Document from four states: Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Tajikistan. A special experts meeting will be held in Vienna later this month to gain more insights into the precise assistance being requested and to examine options of coordinating with other international organizations to provide assistance.

I’d like to come back once again to the CSBMs contained in the Vienna Document 1999. Time and time again we hear from other parts of the global community about the importance of establishing and maintaining a secure environment based on trust, especially with regard to military forces and activities. Often, the Vienna Document 1999 is specifically cited for its comprehensive system of transparency measures. Two of the OSCE’s Partners for Cooperation, Korea and Japan, have demonstrated their belief that Asia has something to learn from the OSCE. They have both held seminars on security issues that provided a focused review of Vienna Document 1999 CSBMs and their possible applicability to Asia, the most recent of which took place last March in Tokyo.

We in the State Department recognize the value our OSCE experience brings to questions related to regional security. Until earlier this year, the Political-Military Affairs Bureau was charged with promoting CSBMs and regional security issues for other parts of the world. We have now brought that function to the Arms Control Bureau. Close coordination within the Bureau allows us to capitalize on the experience of our OSCE experts as we pursue CSBMs elsewhere in the world.

Mister Chairman, the Forum for Security Cooperation, like all other bodies in the OSCE, is a consensus body. This naturally limits what any one country can accomplish, especially when we consider the range of views held in an organization of 55 members. The OSCE – and, by extension, the FSC – is fundamentally about politically binding norms and standards. It has no enforcement capability.

But, the FSC remains a useful forum for the United States. In addition to the norms, standards and measures the FSC has established, it offers a venue for its 55 members to discuss – in open forum or in smaller groups – issues of national interest. That, in and of itself, is a valuable confidence- and security-building measure. I hope I have been able to show you that as a result of the U.S. Chairmanship in the autumn of 2003, the work of the FSC has been broadened to encompass some key U.S. security interests. I have every expectation that we can continue to address U.S. security interests in the FSC, as it is clear that these topics are also vitally important to the other members of the OSCE.