OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation: Modernizing the Vienna Document and strong CSBMs are key responses to security challenges

By SSharma

VIENNA, 19 May 2016 – Challenges and opportunities in updating conventional arms control and confidence- and security-building measures were the focus of Wednesday’s OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation held in Vienna, under the Forum’s Chairmanship of Poland.

The Polish Chairmanship underlined the key role of the Forum in negotiating further agreements addressing the challenges and risks to military security in the OSCE area, as envisioned in the 1996 Lisbon Framework for Arms Control. These were designed to create a web of interlocking and mutually reinforcing arms control obligations and commitments, including the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, the Open Skies Treaty and the Vienna Document. The upcoming 20th anniversary of the Lisbon Framework provides a good opportunity for reviewing the status of implementation of the existing commitments and on the way forward, said the FSC Chairperson Ambassador Adam Bugajski.

“However, since the beginning of this century we have seen a gradual and continuing erosion of the conventional arms control regime,” said Ambassador Benno Laggner, Head of Division for Security Policy in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, who was invited by the Polish Chairmanship to addressing today’s Forum meeting. He underscored “an urgent need to revitalize discussions on a future instrument for conventional arms control” and believed the OSCE, as the only inclusive security organization in the Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian area, to be “the most appropriate platform for a broad-based discussion open to all interested States.”

Ambassador Grzegorz Poznański, Director of the Security Policy Department in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was also invited to speak today, said: “We are at the very critical juncture. While the security environment in Europe has deteriorated, we should feel under particular pressure not to let the basic elements of the security architecture to completely fall apart.” He referred to many proposals on the modernization of the Vienna Document, including a draft decision on strengthening co-operation as regards hazardous incidents of a military nature, tabled by Poland and co-sponsored by ten OSCE participating States.

The Polish Chairmanship stressed that the revitalization of these confidence and security-building measures remain a priority for the Forum.

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