Conference on Disarmament

S T A T E M E N T by
Permanent Representative of Romania
to the Conference on Disarmament

Geneva, June 19, 2003

Mr. President,

On behalf of the delegation of Romania, please allow me to begin by conveying to you today, as you approach the end of your mandate as President of the CD, our sincere congratulations for the skilful, constructive and pro-active manner in which you have discharged this very important and at the same time difficult task.

Mr. President,

We have noticed with great satisfaction that, in more than 40 countries all over the world, the first week of June was the "week of action events", raising public awareness on the dangerous consequences of small arms and light weapons. It indeed was an impressive global action towards limiting the tragedy caused by this type of arms.

I am taking the floor today in order to flag out the fact that Romania is also part of the current international efforts aimed at preventing and combating the illegal flow of small arms and light weapons (SALW).

Before presenting an update of Romania's activity in this field I would like to thank ambassador Inoguchi of Japan for the timely and extremely useful briefing Her Excellency presented to us on the preparations for the UN Biennial Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons to be held in New York next month. Let me assure you that Romania is eager to contribute actively to a successful outcome of the meeting.

By the time of the second biennial UN Conference on the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, in 2005, we will be marking ten years since the international community first acknowledged this problem and began seeking ways of addressing it. We recall that in January 1995 the UN Secretary-General presented his Supplement to an Agenda for Peace on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UN. In the section of the report dealing with arms control and disarmament, he was the first to mention the spread and misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons as a new global threat. He spoke about "micro-disarmament", by that meaning "practical disarmament in the context of the conflicts the UN is actually dealing with and of the weapons, most of them light weapons, that are actually killing people in the hundreds of thousands."

Progress has been achieved so far at global, regional and national level. Still, many SALW related issues are still to be discussed and agreed upon by means of elaborating and enforcing international norms and regulations in this field.

Mr. President,

Romania's national policy and conduct with respect to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament represents an important pillar of our security and defence policy. We pay due respect to our commitments assumed both in connection with the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and with conventional arms.

Micro-disarmament has always been one of the priorities on our agenda. Thus, Romania is State Party to the CCW, to the Ottawa Convention, to the CFE Treaty, to the 1999 Vienna Document on Confidence Building Measures, to the OSCE Document on SALW. We are founding members of the Wassenaar Arrangement on export control for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies; we are members of SEESAC, RACVIAC, SECI Center. We adhered to the EU Code of Conduct of arms transfers and we fully abide by the UN, EU and OSCE embargoes on arms exports to conflict regions. Romania is one of the states that, over the last ten years, annually submitted the required information to the UN Register on conventional arms. Moreover, our country is represented in the Group of Governmental Experts mandated to evaluate and further enhance this important instrument in the field of confidence and security building.

I would like to underline the fact that Romania's adoption of these international documents and its membership in these structures do not represent an aim in themselves, but rather a natural reflection of developments within the country itself. The new realities demand new solutions, especially when it comes to adapting our society and economy to European and Euro-Atlantic standards. To mention just one example, the restructuring process - still under way - of our defence industry and military forces.

These new undertakings have confronted us, among other problems, with the issue of small arms and light weapons. The modernization of the army aimed at achieving inter-operability with NATO implied, on the one hand, the reduction of the military personnel, and, on the other hand, an important change in the procurement sector. By assessing the current needs, a surplus of small arms and light weapons resulted, together with the respective ammunition.

Last year, the Ministry of National Defence launched the very first national programme for SALW and ammunition surplus destruction. I take this opportunity to thank once again the Governments of US, Norway and UK for the financial assistance they provided for this project. According to this programme - now almost completed - a number of almost 200,000 SALW and over 36,5 million pieces of ammunition are being destroyed. Further measures are to be taken, pending the internal assessments of the Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of Interior.

Another national development worth mentioning is the up-date of the legal framework in this field. In order to strengthen the current provisions on the regime of firearms and ammunition, a new law will soon be adopted. It incorporates the provisions of the EU Council Directive (no. 91/LO/477/EEC) on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons, as well as those of the UN Protocol against manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their components and ammunition. The above- mentioned law will be supplemented by the new National Register of Firearms, which is pending elaboration. It will fully harmonise the model of recording and of keeping evidence of the weapons existing on our territory with the similar ones in the Western European countries.

As far as the production is concerned, the Ministry of Industry, in co-operation with the Romanian Standards Association, has elaborated the national standard for marking the SALW produced and commercialised in Romania, according to the OSCE recommendations.

To complete the picture, I would like to mention that Romania has in place a strong national system for the control of imports and exports with strategic goods, small arms and light weapons included. The National Agency for the Control of Strategic Exports and the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (ANCESIAC) is the national authority responsible with implementing and monitoring the legal provisions on commercial transfers.

Mr. President,

Romania is well aware of the fact that the internal actions pursued in order to prevent and combat the illicit flow and the destabilising accumulations of SALW must be supplemented by efforts going beyond our own borders. In particular nowadays, when living in a globalised world, international co-operation and common action are essential. From this perspective, I am pleased to inform you that all the competent Romanian agencies have established contacts with similar bodies in different countries all over the world. To exemplify, I would mention the network of information exchange, training and best practices-sharing among the countries in the South-East European region, in the framework of the Task Force on SALW established within Bucharest SECI Center.

Romania stands ready to continue the bilateral and multilateral dialogue with all its partners in order to contribute as such to the demarches of the international community with a view to enhancing regional and global security and stability. It was in this respect, that our country hosted last February, as you may recall, the OSCE regional seminar on the main SALW related issues: tracing/marking and import/in-transit/export controls.

Mr. President,

I am very much aware of the fact that my statement today touches upon an issue which is not dealt with directly within this Conference on Disarmament. However, if I have chosen to accept your kind invitation to address here an issue of particular relevance for my country, it has been for three very simple reasons:

First and foremost, it is our view that the current debates on small arms and light weapons are nothing else but the natural follow-up and in depth continuation of those taking place some years ago in the CD concerning transparency in armaments. Indeed, in that time back in 1998, we were very much involved in this topic, in Romania's capacity as special co-ordinator of the consultations on this point which is still included in the agenda of the CD.

Secondly, we remain particularly attached to the need of transparency in armaments as we consider it a strong and valuable measure of enhancing confidence and security among states. Particularly at such a time, when the CD has been in a stalemate for six years, it seems that confidence and awareness building is just what the CD needs the most.

Thirdly, we feel this is also one of the ways in which countries can show their commitment to the Conference of Disarmament, to the valuable work it has conducted until now and to the unique potential it holds for the future. I would just recall here, as I mentioned during my statement in this hall back in January of this year, that Romania is one of the many delegations supporting the initiative of the five ambassadors concerning the Program of Work of the CD, as we consider that it about time the Conference on Disarmament gets back to work and lives up to its mandate as the sole negotiating body for multilateral disarmament.

Mr. President,

Please allow me to conclude to congratulating you once again for your excellent work. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome in advance the forthcoming Presidency that Italy will assume at the beginning of the next week and to assure it of the commitment of the delegation of Romania to contribute constructively to any possible endeavour to revitalize the work of the Conference on Disarmament.

M. le President,

Avant de conclure, je voudrais egalement felicite M. l'Ambassadeur la Fortelle pour son excellent travail ici a Geneve, de lui remercier chalereusement pour sa cooperation valeureuse avec la delegation de mon pays et de lui souhaiter plein succes dans ses importante activites futures.

Je vous remercie

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