Arms control and nonproliferation

Created: 2014.02.05 / Updated: 2021.09.17 09:49
  • Implementation of the Resolutions of the United Nations (Report according to UN Security Council Resolution 1540)
    On 28 April 2004, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted the Resolution 1540 - the first international instrument that deals with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their means of delivery and related materials. The resolution imposes binding obligations on all states to prevent non-state actors from acquiring such weapons and related materials..

    In addition, it calls on states to present their reports on the implementation of this resolution to the Committee of the Security Council established in accordance with the resolution. Lithuania provided a comprehensive report already in 2004 and updated information on national measures against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in 2005. In 2013, Lithuania was among the few states that submitted an additional report on the implementation of the resolution during the period of 2005-2013.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, in cooperation with such competent authorities as the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Radiation Protection Centre, the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI), and the Nuclear Security Centre of Excellence, prepares reports to the 1540 Committee on the implementation of the resolution. Lithuania calls on other countries to take appropriate steps for the implementation of the resolution.
  • Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BTWC) of 1972
    The Convention on the Prohibition and Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) of 1972 was ratified by the Republic of Lithuania in 1997.

    The Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania, in accordance with paragraph 16 of Article 67 of the Constitution and having regard to Decree of the President of Lithuania of 18 February 1997, the Seimas ratified the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) of 1972. br />
    The states are bound by the Convention “to act with a view to achieving effective progress towards general and complete disarmament, including the prohibition and elimination of all types of weapons of mass destruction, and their conviction that the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons and their elimination, through effective measures, will facilitate the achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. In order to continuously strengthen the image of Lithuania as a credible disarmament and non-proliferation actor, Lithuania has joined the initiative of Canada, Switzerland and Czech Republic of voluntary reporting on the implementation of the BTWC and provides its reports as of 2014.
  • EU Action Lines in Combating the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
    The threat presented by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as identified in the European Security Strategy of 2003, has not diminished and presents a growing risk to the EU's security environment. It is taking on new dimensions that represent challenges to which the EU must respond effectively: new communication tools allowing easier acquiring of sensitive knowledge and know-how by proliferators; new proliferation pathways; and the rapid development of science and technology, which facilitates the design of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, the Council of European Union, aiming to improve the efficiency of the implementation of EU WMD strategy (2003) endorsed the document "New lines for action by the European Union in combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery system" on 8-9 December 2008. This document was extended by the Foreign Affairs Council of 13 December 2010 for a further period of two years. On 21st October 2013 Foreign Affairs Council adopted Conclusions on ensuring the continued pursuit of an effective EU policy on the new challenges presented by the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems.

    The 2003 European Security Strategy identified the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which has not diminished and continues to put at risk the EU's security environment. It is taking on new aspects, creating the challenges that the EU has to address effectively, including new means of communication which make it easier for proliferators to acquire sensitive knowledge and know-how, new pathways of proliferation, as well as advances in science and technology that facilitate the production of weapons of mass destruction. On 8 and 9 December 2008, the document "New lines for action by the European Union in combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems" was endorsed by the Council of the European Union Council of the European Union with the aim to further improve the implementation of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction of 2003 and by the Foreign Affairs Council for a further two years on 13 December 2010. On 21 October 2013, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted Conclusions on ensuring the continued pursuit of an effective EU policy on the new challenges presented by the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems. The main attention is paid to the evaluation of new risks and threats, cooperation between independent scientific research institutes, securing scientific and academic knowledge and controlling its transfer, boosting the responsibility of scientists, establishing codes of professional conduct, increasing consular vigilance, developing measures of export controls, money laundering prevention and improving financial vigilance, seizing illegal WMD-related cargoes, assisting to and working with third countries.

    Lithuania contributes to the EU action to combat the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems, especially by boosting the responsibility of the scientific and business sectors, and the development of export control measures. The Arms Control and Terrorism Prevention Division of the Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs performs the functions of a contact person for the implementation of the new action lines in Lithuania.
  • NATO’s policy of arms control and non-proliferation
    Effective non-proliferation treaties are an integral part of NATO’s security policy. NATO exchanges information and coordinates its member states’ positions on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament issues with a view to strengthening security and stability, while taking into account their collective defense and deterrence priorities. NATO has confirmed its commitment to a nuclear-weapons-free world. But, until then, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.

    Aspects of NATO’s arms control and non-proliferation policy: 1. The emphasis is very much on the importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and nuclear disarmament; 2. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is disapproved of, mainly because it neither conforms with the NPT principles, nor contains a verification regime. NATO’s political position was formulated in a joint statement; 3. The NATO Committee on Proliferation and the High-Level Task Force on Conventional Arms Control (HLTF) exchange information and coordinate their positions on non-proliferation, disarmament, and control of nuclear and conventional weapons of mass destruction; 4. Consultations with other partners and dialogue parties are held; 5. Active contribution to the stockpile management of small arms and light weapons, improvement of member states’ export control systems, elimination of weapons, and organization of peacekeeping operations; 6. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council’s Work Group contributes to the Global Humanitarian Mine Action, aiming to facilitate the elimination of anti-personnel landmines; 7. The emphasis is also on transparency – discussions with NGOs, the general public, and the academic community are organized.

    The 2010 strategic concept underlines that proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems could have incalculable consequences for global security and prosperity. Moreover, during the next decade, proliferation will remain most acute in some most volatile regions of the world. NATO has dramatically reduced the number of nuclear weapons stationed in Europe and will seek to create the conditions for further reductions in the future. The strategic concept foresees that efforts will be made to strengthen the conventional arms control regime in Europe on the basis of reciprocity, transparency and host-nation consent. It is also emphasizes that the aim should be to seek Russian agreement to increase transparency on its nuclear weapons in Europe and relocate these weapons away from the territory of NATO members. The Ottawa Convention.

    In December 1996, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 51/45S, which called upon all countries to conclude a new international agreement totally prohibiting anti-personnel mines. In 1997, a diplomatic conference was held in Norway, which concluded the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (known informally as the Ottawa Convention or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty) on 18 September. Lithuania was the first among the three Baltic states to accede to the treaty. In Lithuania, the Ottawa Convention entered into force on 1 November 2003. In June 2004, the country completed the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines in line with its international commitments. Thus, Lithuania has contributed to the promotion of transparency and mutual confidence in the region and, in coordination with international efforts, encouraged new developments under the Ottawa Convention in the region, as well as helped the process, required for the universal application of the Convention’s objectives, become more mature. Lithuania aims to strengthen assistance to the victims of landmines, to reinforce the treaty norms in the region, and to call for renouncing the use of this type of inhumane weapons. Furthermore, Lithuania seeks to maintain the image of a reliable participant in the processes of disarmament and non-proliferation, and in the implementation of the Ottawa Convention. To that end, Lithuania supports projects of humanitarian demining in Ukraine, Colombia, and other countries. Lithuania is currently free of anti-personnel landmines and their transit is allowed only for destruction. The country’s demining personnel are trained to implement possible mine action within the framework of peacekeeping operations, while its troops do not participate in joint military operations that involve the use of prohibited anti-personnel mines.
  • Ottawa Convention
    In December 1996, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 51/45S, which invited the states to conclude a new international treaty on a global ban for anti-personnel mines. In 1997, Norway arranged a conference which on 18 September adopted the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. This international Treaty is also called the Ottawa Convention.

    Lithuania was the first Baltic State to join the Ottawa Convention. The Convention came into force in Lithuania on 1 November 2003. The stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines in Lithuania were completely destroyed in June 2004.

    Lithuania, pursuing the implementation of international obligations, contributing to the promotion of transparency and co-ordinating its activities with international endeavours, pushed for new development of the Ottawa Convention in the region and matured a process necessary for the universal application of the objectives of the Convention. Lithuania is striving to enhance aid for the victims of the landmines, to foster the regulations on prohibition of anti-personnel mines in the region and invites the withdrawal of these anti-human weapons. In order to keep the image of Lithuania as a credible disarmament and non-proliferation actor and in implementing the Ottawa Convention, Lithuania gives the priority attention the destruction of stockpile of millions of anti-personnel mines with chemical cartridge (PFM-1) in the territory Belarus and Ukraine.

    Currently Lithuania is a territory free of anti-personnel mines; transit of these landmines will be allowed only for destruction purposes. Lithuanian mine clearance experts are being prepared for possible mine clearance missions in peace enhancing operations; soldiers will not participate in joint military operations using the prohibited anti-personnel mines.
  • Ban on cluster munitions
    Acting in accordance with subparagraph 16 of Article 67 and Article 138(1)(6) of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the President’s Decree No 1K-197 of 3 November 2009, the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions. On 24 March 2011, Lithuania acceded to the Convention that was adopted on 30 May 2008 in Dublin, opened for signature on 3 December 2008 in Oslo, and entered into force on 1 August 2010. There is a high risk of civilian casualties, where military objectives and civilians intermingle in a target area, due to the distribution of large numbers of explosive submunitions over large areas. In some cases, when over a third of submunitions does not explode, a humanitarian threat to civilians is posed and obstacles to economic development persist even after conflict. Lithuania does not possess, use or plan to acquire cluster munitions. The country pursues the implementation of all international agreements aimed at preventing human suffering from the use of certain weapons and consistently supports further development of such international rules.
  • Sea-dumped Chemical Weapons
    After the World War II about 40 thousand tons of chemical weapons were dumped in the Baltic Sea posing a wide-scale threat to the people and the environment. It is estimated that these chemical munitions contained some 15,000 tonnes of chemical warfare agents. Different types of chemical warfare agents are found in different areas, e.g. in Gotland Deep, which is in the territory of Lithuanian economic zone (Lithuanian economic zone in the Baltic Sea is as large as 6 400 km² and reaches waters of Sweden) one object is found with 9,5 mg/kg concentration of hazardous chemical - arsenic.

    At Lithuania‘s initiative in 2010 the International Scientific Advisory Board on Dumped Chemical Weapons was established. The Scientific Board has gathered world-known representatives of environmental organizations, scientists and researchers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S.A., working in the fields of environment protection and destruction of chemical weapons. The Scientific Board provides qualified scientific and technological information, evaluations and analytical recommendations regarding sea-dumped chemical weapons.

    In 2010, Lithuania introduced the United Nations (UN) Second Committee Resolution on environmental effects related to waste originating from sea-dumped chemical weapons (A/RES/65/149), which was adopted unanimously at the UN General Assembly on the 20th December 2010. The Resolution encourages cooperation of all countries in assessing environmental effects of waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea. This Resolution is the first resolution Lithuania has independently introduced at the United Nations. For the consistency and continuity of work, in 2013 Lithuania has initiated another resolution on the matter. Resolution Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea (A/RES/68/208) was passed unanimously at UN General Assembly on the 20th December 2013. This Resolution reflects states‘ initiatives in the area of sea-dumped chemical munitions and sets further cooperation guidelines, inviting states to provide their views on the possibility of establishing a database containing relevant and voluntarily shared information on sea-dumped chemical munitions.

    The Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997, does not require declaration of chemical weapons dumped in the sea prior to 1 January 1985. Considering this, countries that have sea-dumped chemical weapons in their territorial waters are not obliged to provide relevant reports nor take any other measures. However, the Convention provides, that all responsiblity shall lie upon the country that has recovered or raised sea-dumped chemical weapons.

    Lithuania participates actively in the activities of organizations and projects aimed at protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea: HELCOM (The Helsinki Commision), CHEMSEA (Project ened on 15th February 2014), BSAS (Baltic Sea Action Summit) and NATO MODUM (Towards the monitoring of dumped munitions threat)

    More information on the matter can be found at www.seadumpedcw.org
  • Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures
    The contribution of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is expressed in the best way through the agreement of OSCE member countries on implementation of measures building security and confidence. These important political obligations are set in the Vienna Document (updated 2011), which envisages concrete measures for comprehensive control of the military forces of the member countries as well as of the openness and predictability of military activities. The Vienna Document is the only overall instrument for weaponry control in Europe. The document sets the obligation for states to provide information every year on their military forces, development plans of the military capabilities and the military budget, and to inform in advance about planned military activities. The states undertake to accept in their territories the set number of the military expert inspections and visits (so-called verification activities) from other countries. The Document also envisages military co-operation (demonstration of new kinds of weaponry, visits to military bases, and watching certain military activities), joint actions of the states in case of military incidents, and joint trainings. A state, which has concerns about unusual military activities in another state, is entitled to require explanation from the state where the activity is taking place. The member states also undertake to co-operate in assessment of the nature of hazardous military incidents in order to prevent possible misunderstandings.

    In order to ensure maximum transparency during military activities, the Document envisages mandatory supervision of certain military activities with the presence of representatives of the other states. The Document stresses the importance of the regional and bilateral agreements. The member states may agree on a bilateral or multilateral basis on the additional measures aiming at enhancing transparency and mutual confidence. Measures enhancing transparency and mutual confidence may be adapted to the specific needs of the region.
  • Bilateral Agreements on Confidence and Security Building Measures
    Lithuania actively participates in the implementation of the objectives and principles of the Vienna Document: exchanges military-political information with partners, carries out and accepts inspections and assessment visits in accordance with the Vienna Document (VD) of 2011.

    Moreover, in addition to key obligations related to VD, Lithuania also implements bilateral agreements with Russia, Belarus, Sweden and Finland on additional measures for ensuring regional security and stability in order to increase the confidence between the countries and their military structures.

    Lithuanian agreement on bilateral measures establishes even more measures: besides the additional visits to the military units, it envisages the inspections of whole regions. The countries also agreed to inform each other in advance about the trainings and military activities the scale of which does not reach the limits set in the VD for advance information.
  • Export Controls and Sanctions
    Export control questions are closely related to the common Lithuanian security policy: the threat of proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is closely related to the threat of global terrorism, therefore non-proliferation and enforcement of export control mechanisms are the key issues and priority of today’s international policy.

    Since 27 May 2004 Lithuania is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and since 26 May 2004 – a member of the Australia Group, which deals with control of proliferation of chemical and biological weapon. Lithuania joined the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) on 6 May 2005 and is pursuing membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

    Nuclear Suppliers Group is regulating transfers of nuclear material and technologies. Australian group is dealing with non-proliferation of chemical, biological and toxic substances. The Wassenaar Arrangement regulates transfers and accumulations of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. The Missile Technology Control Regime regulates the unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

    The Republic of Lithuania emphasises the importance of enforcement of arms control and constantly co-ordinates its activities with the requirements of the international non-proliferation regimes. Pursuing the implementation of the Law on the Control of Strategic Goods, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania is striving to more effectively integrate the guidelines of these regimes into the national regulations of export controls.

    Following these objectives, Lithuania aims at ensuring that transfers and stockpiles of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies do not threaten regional and international security and stability. National export controls are carried out in accordance with the requirements of the internal legislation, legal acts of the EU, the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Australia Group and Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs formulates the national export policy and, taking into account international agreements, decides whether activities with dual-use goods and technologies and military equipment goods comply with international obligations. Licenses for such goods in accordance with certain regulations are issued by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania. Export to the countries subject to international sanctions is strictly restricted. The license is not issued if this conflicts with the international agreements of the Republic of Lithuania, international sanctions implemented by Lithuania, criteria of the Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment as well as those of the Arms Trade Treaty, requirements of international non-proliferation regimes, and interests of foreign policy of the Republic of Lithuania and national security.

    Information on Lithuanian exports of military technology and equipment is published in the Annual Report according to Article 8(2) of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment. The reports are to be found in the EU External Action Service information.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, implementing the Law on Economic and other International Sanctions of the Republic of Lithuania, co-ordinates the implementation of sanctions in the Republic of Lithuania and provides this information to international organisations. International sanctions are imposed by directly applicable regulations of the European Union and by decrees of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, which implement other EU legislative acts and resolutions of the United Nations. More information on implementation of sanctions may be found at www.urm.lt/sanctions (for more extensive information on international sanctions implementation please address the Lithuanian version www.urm.lt/sankcijos).

    Lithuania pursues, by political, economic, diplomatic and legal measures, the prevention of proliferation of chemical, biological, nuclear and conventional weapons, and implementation of the obligations of export controls.


     

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