Stepping up the battle to prevent nuclear weapons from falling intot

May 28 2004

Stepping up the battle to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into
the clutches of terrorists

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

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.