South East Europe stands united to tighten arms control
1 February 2018, Podgorica
Decision makers committed to fighting arms illicit possession, trafficking and misuse together for the safety and security of all citizens in Europe as defined in a Joint Statement at the high-level meeting: ‘Reinforcing commitments towards SALW control in South East Europe’, which took place on 1 February 2018 in Podgorica.
Deputy Ministers of the Interior and Foreign Affairs gathered to reinforce their commitment towards Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control in South East Europe at a high-level meeting organized by SEESAC and hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany, the European Union (EU) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC). Acknowledging the challenges posed by the proliferation and trafficking of SALW to the economic and social development of the region and beyond, the Deputy Ministers present agreed to a Joint Statement, which includes 14 action points on how the region will tackle this challenge together.
Key statements from officials attending the high-level meeting:
- H.E. Prof. Srđan Darmanović, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro: “Firearms trafficking pose threats to achieving sustainable peace. Montenegro is committed to join international efforts and fight security challenges affecting us all.”
- H.E. Dr. Patricia Flor, Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control, German Federal Foreign Office: “SALW Control is key to achieving safety and security. We need to put a stronger emphasis on regional cooperation & confidence building to tackle this.”
- H.E. Mr. Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council: “Significant progress on security and stability has been achieved in South East Europe. However, SALW control remains one of the key challenges for this region and beyond."
- Mr. Emmanuel Vallens, Policy Officer, European Commission, DG Migration and Home Affairs, Organised Crime - Task-force Firearms: “The EU is committed to supporting the SALW Control efforts in South East Europe”
The 14-action points of the Joint Statement include, among others, working together to harmonize arms control legislation to EU framework, countering firearms trafficking, securing SALW and ammunition storages and reducing stockpiles, ensuring proper marking, tracing and record keeping of firearms, enabling full participation of women in SALW control policy-making, raising awareness amongst citizens about the dangers posed by firearms misuse. Under the auspices of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Deputy Ministers present agreed to develop a Roadmap for the Western Balkans with concrete objectives targeting SALW control, to be adopted at the London Summit within the Berlin process to be held later this year.