The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) held its 27th Plenary Meeting in Rome from 14 to 18 October 2013 to review and evaluate its activities and to further intensify its efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD delivery means. The Plenary was inaugurated by Foreign Affairs Minister Emma Bonino and chaired by Ambassador Carlo Trezza, who will remain in charge until the next Plenary session in 2014 in Norway. A congratulatory message was received from the President of the Italian Republic. The meeting was held 25 years after the first MTCR plenary meeting held in Rome in 1988. Participants appreciated Italy’s decision to chair an MTCR plenary for a second time.
During the past 25 years the MTCR has served as a unique instrument for curbing the proliferation of WMD delivery means, thus contributing to strengthen international peace and security; several countries have shelved their missile programs and even destroyed their ballistic missiles, member states have tightened their export controls and curbed missile proliferation worldwide. The establishment of the MTCR in 1987 was an early multilateral acknowledgement of the link between weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means. The accomplishments and experience acquired by the MTCR during a quarter of a century have provided an invaluable benchmark for global non proliferation efforts.
MTCR partners reiterated the concept that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as their
means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security, as recognized in UNSC Resolution 1540. They proceeded to a thorough exchange of information on developments existing and potential missile proliferation developments that took place since their last plenary meeting in Berlin.
Within the framework of the MTCR mandate, members conducted extensive discussions on various country issues including DPRK and Iran and expressed concerns associated with global missile proliferation activities in particular regarding ongoing missile programs in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and South Asia, which could fuel missile proliferation activities elsewhere. They confirmed their commitment to implement relevant UNSC resolutions on nonproliferation including 1695, 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094 and 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835, 1929. Other critical situations, with regard to WMD delivery means and their operational use, were also considered. Partners agreed to continue exchanging views on missile program developments.
With regard to Guidelines and policy issues, Partners welcomed the fact that the MTCR’s Guidelines and control lists constitute an international export control standard that is increasingly adhered to by non-members of the MTCR and included in UN documents. They also agreed to redouble their efforts to inform and assist interested parties that are supportive of missile nonproliferation and of the objectives and purposes of the MTCR and called on all countries to exercise extreme vigilance to prevent the transfer of any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to WMD missile programmes of proliferation concern, in accordance with their national legislation and consistent with international law.
Partners reaffirmed the critical importance of the MTCR’s on-going technical work. They noted the rapid evolution of relevant technologies and the related need to take forward looking actions to address these developments. They recognized that the Equipment, Software, and Technology Annex is a cornerstone of the work done by the MTCR to prevent illegal transfers of missile technologies and expressed deep appreciation for the accomplishments of the Technical Expert Meeting (TEM). They also expressed their deep appreciation for the work of the Licensing and Enforcement Expert Meeting (LEEM), the Information Exchange Meeting (IEM).
Partners also discussed procurement activities and strategies in support of programs for WMD delivery means; the risk of intangible technology transfers and the challenges it entails; key technology trends in missile programs; catch-all controls for non-listed items. These discussions showed that constant updating on export controls by MTCR countries could have an even greater impact. They also underlined the importance of focusing on brokering, transit and transshipment issues and on efforts to exploit them to evade export controls.
Partners expressed appreciation for the outreach activities conducted by the outgoing MTCR Chairman Ambassador Jörg Ranau. The new MTCR Chair was encouraged to conduct further outreach activities and contacts in order to increase transparency about the Regime and promote its objectives. The MTCR partners also encourage the continuation of individual, collective and regional efforts to assist non-member countries and other interested parties in implementing missile-related export controls as mandated under UNSC Resolution 1540, and to inform the Chair about these activities. In this regard, partners noted the usefulness of the MTCR Annex and Guidelines in providing an international benchmark for best practice export controls on missile-related items. Guidelines should be no impediment to technological advancement, development and space programs as long as such programs could not contribute to delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction. The activities of applicant countries, already implementing MTCR guidelines and other non-member countries, in support of the objectives and purposes of the MTCR are also welcome.
Partners reviewed a number of key aspects of the internal functioning of the Regime, including issues related to the continuity and effectiveness of MTCR presidencies. They warmly welcomed and approved Ukraine’s announcement of its offer to chair MTCR in 2015-2016.
Partners also exchanged views on issues related to future membership, including their overall approaches to membership evaluation. Individual applications for membership were also thoroughly discussed. The membership issue will continue to be on the agenda.
The MTCR has 34 members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.