Sixth Meeting of the Regional Information Exchange Process on Arms Export Controls

The sixth meeting of the Regional Information Exchange Process on Arms Export Controls, organized by SEESAC, took place on 9-10 November in Belgrade, Serbia and was attended by the delegations of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The meeting began with a presentation given by the BiH delegation, informing participants about the work of BiH in its second year as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The next issue discussed was the development of a regional database of registered arms brokers. The brokers database containing information on registered brokers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia is now available on the SEESAC website and is accessible to all participants of the Regional Information Exchange Process on Arms Export Controls. This is an important step towards establishing closer cooperation and better communication amongst responsible parties for arms control in the region. Members of the exchange process will continue to work on expanding the database and making it more widely available, it was decided.

Following on, the SEESAC Team Leader introduced the group to the recent SEESAC publications on arms export control: “The Internal Compliance Programme” report and “The Development of National and Regional Reports on Arms Exports in the EU and South Eastern Europe” report. SEESAC expressed willingness to support any of the participating countries in promotion of the internal compliance programs.

The delegations discussed reporting on brokering licenses within the regional report and concluded that because of the lack of uniformity with regards to the definition of a broker and the process of license issuing, information on licenses cannot be included in the regional report as of yet. Some pending amendments to the laws in various countries might change the situation in the future.

Thanks to the generous offer by delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the next Regional Arms Exports Information Exchange meeting was tentatively scheduled to take place in Sarajevo, in late March or early April of 2012. The agenda for the next meeting will be finalized in January of 2012.

The closed meeting was preceded by the presentations of the second regional report on arms exports and four national reports on arms exports at a joint press conference.

The activity is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.