Brussels seizes the opportunity of the Maputo Summit to renew its commitment against anti-personnel mines

The Third Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (known as the Ottawa Convention) was held in Maputo from June 23 to June 27, 2014. In anticipation of this event, the Council of the European Union reasserted its support for the Convention and its history of promoting the destruction of mines (stockpiled and on the field) and assistance to anti-personnel mines victims. It also expressed its hopes that the Conference would provide an opportunity for agreeing on a concrete plan and a realistic set of actions to implement the Convention.

During the Conference, the EU highlighted the need for an efficient structure to monitor the implementation of the action plan, pointing especially to the optimization of its costs of functioning and a rationalization of the schedule of its meetings.

The EU’s support to the Convention and its implementation process is both old and deep. It is the largest international donor on this issue and has spent 1.5 billion since 1992 on programs linked to demining, technology and assistance to victims. Its action also includes raising awareness and education, training specialists and promoting advocacy against the use of landmines. Since 2009 and the Second Review Conference held in Cartagena, and in the wake of a EU Council Decision of November 2012, the EU contributed more than 500 Million Euro to mine action. One of its key programs took place in Afghanistan, where the Union spent 89 million Euros, in addition to member States’ contributions, to clear almost 80% of the minefields and assist the Afghan government to deal with the issue of anti-personnel mines.

Council conclusions on Third Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention

First EU-Pakistan Dialogue on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

The first round of Pakistan-European Union Bilateral Dialogue on Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy was held in Islamabad on June 17, 2014. On this occasion, Ambassador Jacek Bylica represented the EU and led its delegation in these high-level talks with Tasnim Aslam, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan. This first dialogue offered an opportunity for the two delegations to discuss nonproliferation and disarmament, but also issues related to nuclear energy in general, regional and strategic stability. It also permitted the EU and Pakistan to review areas of cooperation, both at a bilateral and multilateral level.

This roundtable on nonproliferation and disarmament issues was organized at the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University. Pakistani officials, and in particular Dr. Maria Sultan, Director Regional of SASSI University and Secretary of Defense Asif Yasin Malik emphasized during these roundtables their worries about the transfer of nuclear technologies to India and the increase of its defense budget. The roundtable was attended by security experts and defense analysts.

This event was organized in the framework of the 2012 EU-Pakistan Five-Year Engagement Plan. This plan, shaped after the joint statements of 2009 and 2010 EU-Pakistan Summits, was adopted in February 2012. Split in 6 chapters, it notably relates to strategic, political and security issues and previews the establishment of sectorial dialogues on disarmament and nonproliferation.

A second round of dialogue is set to take place in 2015 in Brussels.

EU-Pakistan 5-year Engagement Plan

First EU-Pakistan Dialogue on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

The EU expresses concern on Syrian chemical weapons

As mentioned in the issue n°14 of the Consortium Newsletter (February-March), the EU contributes largely for the removal and destruction of Syrian chemical weapons. This explains why Catherine Ashton and the European External Action Service as a whole take a special interest in the evolution of the process.

On June 23, 2014, Catherine Ashton expressed her satisfaction to see that in spite of delays, remaining chemicals had eventually been removed on board of a Danish vessel. She congratulated the OPCW and the joint mission staff for this result.

However, the EU expressed its worries about the allegations of ongoing use of chlorine in Syria and stated that people responsible for these attacks should be held accountable. The Council also showed its concerns about the humanitarian and security situation in the country by adopting Decision 2014/387/CFSP on June 23, 2014, which adds twelve new Syrian officials to the list of natural and legal persons targeted by EU sanctions.

Council Implementing Decision concerning restrictive measures against Syria

EU strengthens sanctions against the Syrian regime

Statement by the Spokesperson on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria

Upcoming events

July 28 – September 12 2014: Conference on Disarmament 2014, Part 3, Geneva, Switzerland

September 02 – 05 2014: Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San José, Costa Rica

September 15 - 19, 2014: IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, Austria

September 22 - 26, 2014: IAEA General Conference, Vienna, Austria

October 06 - November 05, 2014: UN General Assembly First Committee, 69th Session, New York, USA

October 28 - 30, 2014: Forty-Third Session of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO