Conventional weapons control concerns Belgium as much as Germany
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    Conventional weapons control concerns Belgium as much as Germany

    © Belga
    The struggle over the control of conventional weapons is as much a concern for Belgium as Germany.
    © Belga

    Belgium will support any initiative intended to renew talks around weapons control, whilst Russia refuses to comply with the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). The Minister for Foreign Affairs has ensured his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, of this during the Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is currently taking place in Hamburg.

    Germany, which is President of the OSCE this year, made this theme a priority.

    A group of 14 countries, which includes Germany, France and Belgium has moreover been set up for this purpose.

    “Current mechanisms for weapons control are in the process of being eroded,” the Head of Belgian diplomacy commented.

    M. Steinmeier introduced the discussion by saying, “Traditional mechanisms often appear inefficient as they are often not in line with political, military and technological realities.”

    The impact of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) was significantly weakened when Russia made the decision last year not to apply it.

    This text is one of the agreements which sealed the end of the Cold War by limiting the stationing of conventional heavy weapons by NATO countries and under the Warsaw Pact.

    Didier Reynders says that it is good that Berlin wishes to return to the heart of the OSCE mission and to the fundamental principles of the organisation.

    He said, “Security does not simply boil down to prevention and resolution of conflicts in the various regions of the world. Member states in the OSCE group are increasingly faced with transnational crime, such as weapons trafficking and the terrorism. Fights for human rights and freedom of expression remain just as important, and are the reason why we should develop a balanced approach.”

    Mr Reynders considers that the global approach of the OSCE is for this reason “an interesting laboratory of good practice and exchange of information” against terrorism and violent extremism.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times