Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller delivered a keynote address today at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC) in Vienna, where she outlined the importance of conventional arms control in Europe and the challenges we face. She emphasized that it is in the interest of each OSCE member to ensure that our arms control efforts contribute to stability and enhance mutual security in line with our commitments and obligations.
The OSCE Annual Security Review Conference provides an opportunity for the 56 participating States to take stock of current security concerns and discuss how best to address them together. At the Conference, Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller joined her Russian counterpart, Ambassador Mikhail Uliyanov, in highlighting the important role that conventional arms control agreements play in strengthening and maintaining European security. A new beginning in the dialogue between Russia and NATO was marked at the NATO-Russia Council Summit at Lisbon last November.
This dialogue has led to a stronger partnership that is redefining and reinforcing the promise of common security for all. As we look towards the future, we have the opportunity and obligation to translate this promise into practical steps in order to strengthen our collective security.
Enhancing European security remains a key U.S. policy objective. In April, Secretary Clinton said at the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Berlin, "Nothing would advance the spirit of Lisbon like launching new negotiations to strengthen and modernize conventional arms control for the 21st century." But to get there, nations must be willing to talk to their neighbors about their military equipment and forces in disputed territories, and they must be completely transparent about their military forces.
Conventional arms control regimes must take account of existing security relationships and concerns, and should provide a level of transparency, allowing for confidence-building, both at the sub-regional level, and within the larger group of participating States. Three key agreements form the foundation of Euro-Atlantic conventional arms control: the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), the Vienna Document 1999 and the Open Skies Treaty.
While these agreements cannot be expected to solve all issues that may be in play between the parties involved, each regime is important and contributes to security and stability in a unique way. Their implementation results in greater confidence for all OSCE participating States. We encourage OSCE states to work with us to revitalize and modernize the regimes that have formed the underpinnings of European security for more than two decades.
You can learn more about the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) here.
Rich Davis serves as Director of the Office of Euro-Atlantic Security in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.