UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Homeland Security

Washington File

27 June 2003

U.S. Supports OSCE Role in Meeting Security Threats

(Minikes closing remarks to review conference) (910)
Dealing with modern threats to security requires a concerted effort by
military forces, police, and customs authorities, and the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe is well-suited to assist in
this effort, U.S. Ambassador Stephan Minikes said in closing remarks
at the OSCE's first Annual Security Review Conference June 26 in
Vienna.
"The OSCE's comprehensive approach to security and its close working
relationships with governments, NGOs and other actors give it the
right mix of tools to be able to play a role in promoting this kind of
intra-state and inter-state cooperation which will be key to combating
old, current and new threats in the years to come," he said.
Minikes, head of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE, acknowledged the
significance of holding the first security review conference and
highlighted four specific areas for follow-up: the adoption of common
security features on travel documents, more controls on MANPADS
(Man-portable Air Defense Systems), improved border security and
control, and the destruction of ammunition stockpiles.
Following are Minikes' remarks:
(begin transcript)
United States Mission to the OSCE
Vienna
June 26, 2003
CLOSING STATEMENT FIRST OSCE ANNUAL SECURITY REVIEW CONFERENCE
Delivered by Ambassador Stephan M. Minikes
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It is our firm conviction that this first Annual Security Review
Conference has accomplished the purpose we realistically expected it
would. We have had some review of implementation of our commitments,
we have had some give and take, and we have had heard some proposals
from delegations and keynote speakers as to how we might refine our
commitments or even consider new areas of security-related work which,
provided the will for implementation exists, might improve security
within and among OSCE participating states.
We must recognize that this is the first time that this conference has
been held. There will be matters to work out over time. But the fact
that we have made a start is very significant and together with our
partners from other European and Euro-Atlantic security organizations
there is much to do to follow up. In response to some of the
suggestions put forward by delegations and by some of our keynote
speakers, we feel the potential exists for worthwhile follow up that
we look forward to seeing mature into deliverables for the ministerial
at Maastricht, along the following lines:
First, travel document security: Several delegations have highlighted
the invaluable service the OSCE has played, and can continue to play,
in establishing norms and standards for participating States. We
believe that the OSCE can make a significant contribution in terms of
real security needs by deciding to adopt common security features on
the travel documentation they issue to their citizens. Work in this
area would make a significant, very real contribution to the war on
terrorism, as well as to the fight against organized crime and illegal
immigration, all issues many delegations have identified as threats to
their own security and stability.
Second, MANPADS (Man-portable Air Defense Systems): We share the
concerns regarding MANPADS raised by our French colleagues and fully
support addressing this issue in the OSCE. MANPADS have been singled
out as requiring more controls, more accountability, better storage,
and other unique requirements. Although this issue is already being
addressed in other international organizations and institutions, we
agree that the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons can be
the springboard for the OSCE to take additional steps to address
MANPADS.
Third, border control/border security: The German delegation very
aptly noted that the OSCE can and should play a more active role in
promoting border security and control by its participating States. We
strongly support focusing the resources and expertise of this
organization in that direction. The Strategic Police Matters Unit and
the Anti-Terrorism Unit could work together in the area of training
and capacity building to help participating States improve their own
abilities to address this issue.
And fourth, ammunition stockpile security and destruction: We believe
some of the suggestions put forward in various working groups
concerning security and perhaps ultimately destruction of stockpiles
of ammunition and weapons also deserve attention.
The threats we all face these days are not one that can be managed
strictly by our militaries. They require a concerted effort by
militaries, together with police and customs authorities. They require
cooperation between civilian and military authorities. The OSCE's
comprehensive approach to security and its close working relationships
with governments, NGOs and other actors give it the right mix of tools
to be able to play a role in promoting this kind of intra-state and
inter-state cooperation which will be key to combating old, current
and new threats in the years to come.
In closing Mr. Chairman, we want again to thank the Dutch Chairmanship
for its leadership and energy in organizing the conference. We also
wish to thank the keynote speakers, the coordinators and rapporteurs
and delegations for their participation. I said at the outset of the
conference that our collective assessment of the usefulness of this
meeting would determine its future. The assessment of the United
States is that we have made a good start, and that it is our fervent
hope that the road to the 2004 Annual Security Review Conference will
be paved with the solid results achieved during the next twelve
months.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list