The Arms Control and Regional
Security Working Group


This group focuses on operational and conceptual issues pertaining to confidence- and security-building measures, as well as regional security and arms control issues. The last plenary meeting was held in Tunis on December 13-15, 1994, with 43 participants, 15 of them from the region.

Since the last plenary session, the working group has held three intersessional meetings on both operational and conceptual issues, in preparation for the next plenary session:

  1. A meeting on operational issues held in Antalya, Turkey on April 4-6, 1995, discussed the following CBM's:

    1. A Working Group Communications Network:

      The temporary communications network began operation in the Hague in March 1995. A discussion was held on the elements of the permanent center to be established in Egypt. In order to expand the data base and subsequently the use of the network, a list of topics was distributed (administrative issues, working group papers, CBM's and general information on arms control). It was agreed to continue the discussion at the next plenary meeting.

    2. Maritime CBM's:

      • The drafting of the agreement on the prevention of incidents at sea (INCSEA) has been completed.

      • A series of activities within the agreement in principle to cooperate in search and rescue (SAR) were discussed.

      • An agenda was agreed upon for a meeting of senior naval officers from the region.

      • Tunisia reiterated its consent to conduct a naval exercise.

    3. Information Exchange and Prenotification of Military Exercises:

      Agreement was reached on several issues and activities whose implementation can begin within one month after the next plenary session:

      • prenotification of certain military exercises;

      • Exchange of curriculum vitae of senior military officers;

      • Exchange of unclassified military publications, and military training and education; and

      • Voluntary invitations to visit defense installations.

  2. Conceptual issues were discussed in Helsinki on May 29-June 1, 1995, with the participation of delegations from all the states in the region participating in the working group, the gavel holders, the host country Finland, as well as experts from Australia, India, France and the United Nations.

    During the meeting, the following issues were discussed:

    • A statement on arms control and regional security.

    • The definition of long-term goals in arms control and regional security.

    • The delineation of the Middle East region for purposes of regional security and arms control.

    • Elements needed to begin negotiations on arms control.

    It was decided to hold a seminar on military doctrines, to be organized by the French, to take place in Amman at the end of December 1995.

  3. An experts meeting was held in Amman on September 20-21, 1995 to discuss the establishment of a Regional Security Center (RSC). The discussion followed the decision taken at the plenary meeting in Tunis to establish a Regional Security Center in Jordan, with secondary centers in Qatar and Tunisia.

    It was agreed that the primary objective of the RSC will be to enhance security and stability in the Middle East. The centers will engaged in a range of activities, including:

    • the organization of seminars on arms control and regional security;

    • the encouragement of education and training on issues related to the peace process;

    • the support of issues relating to arms control and regional security arrangements; and

    • the functioning of the three centers as an integral part of the regional communications network which began operation in March 1995.


Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry