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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 53, December 2000 - January 2001

Wassenaar Agreement Meeting

Notes: The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, based in Vienna, was established in July 1996. The 33 Participating States of the Arrangement are:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.

Public Statement

Sixth Plenary Meeting of the Wassenaar Agreement, Bratslava, Slovakia, November 30-December 1, 2000; Public Statement, December 1.

"The Foreign Minister of Slovakia, Mr. Eduard Kukan, as host of the Plenary meeting, welcomed participants to Bratislava. He stressed the importance that Slovakia attached to the Wassenaar Arrangement. He also emphasized that the gradual building of mutual trust and broader transparency, which was crucial in today's world, would ensure achieving the common objectives of the Wassenaar Arrangement Initial Elements.

Participating States took note of work done over the year by the General Working Group to improve the efficiency of the General Information Exchange in accordance with the conclusions reached at the 1999 Plenary.

Participating States reaffirmed their commitment to maintain responsible national policies in the licensing of exports of arms and sensitive dual-use items. They noted with concern illicit arms flows to zones of conflict and areas covered by UNSC embargoes, as well as licit transfers to zones of conflict from states not participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Participating States agreed to continue consideration of practical arms control measures, including of an appropriate collaborative role with ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] member states to respect the provisions of the ECOWAS Moratorium, and of providing advisory and/or technical assistance in the implementation of the Moratorium. They expressed support for the UNSC's efforts to prevent illegal arms transfers to the UNITA forces in Angola.

Participating States reaffirmed their concern about the threat posed by the illicit possession and use of Man Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS) and agreed on elements of export controls on such weapons.

The Plenary reaffirmed the importance of responsible export policies towards, and effective export controls over, small arms and light weapons to prevent destabilising accumulations. Participating States would continue to share information and explore practical measures. The Plenary took note positively of other international efforts including the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects to be held in July 2001, and the work of the OSCE, including its adoption of a document on small arms and light weapons.

The Plenary agreed on non-binding best practices regarding: the effective enforcement of national export controls; the disposal of surplus military equipment; and the control of exports of items designated as very sensitive.

The Plenary agreed to a number of control list amendments which will be published shortly. Participating States affirmed the importance they attach to timely updating of the lists to keep pace with technology advances while maintaining security interests. The Plenary took note of an in-depth study conducted in 2000 on controls of computers and microprocessors.

The Plenary identified other areas for further consideration, including:

  • Arms transparency: Participating States agreed to continue study of this topic;
  • Arms brokering: Participating States recognised the importance of this issue and agreed to continue to exchange information on national legislation and practices, and discuss possible enforcement measures;
  • Intangible transfers: Participating States recognised that it is important to continue deepening Wassenaar Arrangement understanding of how and how much to control such transfers;
  • Review of computer and microprocessor controls with a view to further liberalisation, taking into account technology advances and security concerns of Participating States.
On outreach, Participating States again confirmed that the Wassenaar Arrangement is open, on a global and non-discriminatory basis, to prospective adherents that comply with agreed criteria for participation. Participating States agreed to study the possibility of further contacts with other non-proliferation regimes to avoid duplication of work and to facilitate complementarity. ..."

Source: Wassenaar Agreement website, http://www.wassenaar.org.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.