International Information Programs
International Security | Terrorism

16 December 2003

Wassenaar Group to Tighten Export Controls on MANPADS

Vienna meeting results in approval of several major initiatives

The 33 governments that participate in the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies have agreed to tighten controls over man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), according to a statement released December 12.

According to the WA's public statement from the 2003 Plenary Meeting, released in Vienna at the conclusion of three days of talks, several important initiatives that break new ground in the group's fight against terrorism were approved.

The initiatives "included tightening controls over MANPADS, agreeing to enhance the transparency of small arms and light weapons transfers, establishing elements for national legislation on arms brokering, and adopting end-use oriented controls encouraging member governments to impose export controls on certain unlisted items when necessary to support United Nations arms embargoes," according to the December 12 statement.

Following is the WA ministerial statement:

Ministerial Statement

Vienna, Austria December 12, 2003

Ministers of the 33 Participating States in the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies are pleased that the quadrennial assessment of the functioning of the Arrangement has concluded with several important agreements to advance further the Wassenaar Arrangement's non-proliferation and international security and stability goals.

We wish to reaffirm the importance of the Wassenaar Arrangement as one of the pillars of multilateral efforts towards peace and stability. We believe agreements reached in the context of the Wassenaar Arrangement can play a critical role in preventing the diversion of legal arms transfers and in promoting responsible national export control policies for arms and dual-use goods and technologies. In this context, we strongly endorse multilateral efforts to develop strict controls on the transfer of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) that continue to pose one of the most serious threats to the safety of international civil aviation.

As we look ahead and consider future threats to international security and stability, we are convinced that countries committed to a stable international order must work together closely to prevent conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use technologies from being used to perpetrate terrorist acts. Terrorists must be stopped from diverting weapons from legitimate channels. Building upon the momentum developed during the 2003 Assessment, we believe that continued collaboration between the Participating States of the Wassenaar Arrangement will make a significant contribution to global security.

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