Press Release 27 September 2002
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) held its 17th Plenary Meeting in Warsaw from 24 to 27 September 2002, in order to review its activities and further strengthen its efforts to prevent missile proliferation. The meeting marked the start of the Polish chairmanship and was officially opened by Mr. Wodzimierz Cimoszewicz, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. The delegates were also greeted by Prof. Adam D. Rotfeld, Under-secretary of State in the MFA of Poland. The meeting of the Enforcement Experts was officially opened by Mr. Tomasz Michalak, Under-secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance.
The MTCR was established in 1987 with the aim of controlling exports of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. The 33 countries of the MTCR form an important international arrangement dealing with such missiles, as well as related equipment and technology. Details on the MTCR’s objectives, membership and control list are now available on the Regime’s new website (www.mtcr.info), endorsed by the Warsaw Plenary as an important contribution to transparency.
Coordinating their efforts through the MTCR, its member states have contributed significantly to curbing global missile proliferation. The Plenary reiterated that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery poses a serious threat to international and regional peace and security.
The Plenary also stressed the need for further efforts to limit the risk of controlled items and their technologies falling into the hands of terrorist groups and individuals. To that end they adopted the following Joint Action: “In view of growing concern over the continuing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, and of the fact that not only states but also terrorist groups and individuals may acquire such weapons, and remembering the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the Partner countries of the MTCR stress the need to give the necessary impetus to actions to combat terrorism. The MTCR will continue to contribute to the fight against terrorism by limiting the risk of controlled items and their technology falling into the hands of terrorist groups and individuals and calls upon all states to take similar action. Partner countries will further study how possible changes to the MTCR guidelines may contribute to this objective”.
The Plenary recognized that further action against missile proliferation was essential at the national, regional and international level. In this context it re-emphasized the important role played by export controls, the need for their strict implementation and enforcement, and the need for continued adaptation and strengthening of such controls to respond to technological development and the evolving security environment. To this end the Plenary agreed to a number of changes to the Regime’s Annex i.e. Control List.
The Polish Chair was mandated to pursue a range of contacts with non-Partners, including MTCR-sponsored workshops and seminars, and intensified dialogue concerning MTCR goals and activities, with the focus on such topics as export controls, related legislation, transshipment and enforcement.
The Plenary welcomed the offer of Argentina to host the next Plenary Meeting in Buenos Aires in September 2003 and to serve as Chair of the MTCR for the subsequent year. Partners also noted the Republic of Korea’s willingness to host the 2004 Plenary.
Partners noted with appreciation the invitation by the government of the Netherlands to the international conference in The Hague on 25 – 26 November 2002 to launch the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
Members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.