Plenary Meeting of the Missile Technology Control Regime – Budapest, Hungary – 5 – 9 October 1998

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) held its 13th Plenary Meeting in Budapest between 5 – 9 October 1998 to review and strengthen its efforts to prevent missile proliferation. Ambassador Istvan Gyarmati, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Hungary, was elected to chair the meeting.

The MTCR was established in 1987 with the aim of controlling exports of missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, as well as the relevant technology. In 1993 controls were extended to include missiles capable of carrying biological and chemical weapons.

The MTCR has 32 members. The Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine attended their first Plenary Meeting in Budapest. The admission of these countries marks and important milestone in the ongoing adaptation of the Regime to the swiftly changing new realities of the post Cold War era.

Partners noted the increased willingness of China to engage in meaningful dialogue on missile export controls, including missile proliferation.

Recalling the previous agreement that China’s participation in the MTCR would be desirable, Partners repeated their invitation in principle to China to join the Regime. Partners called on China to continue to demonstrate its commitment to missile non-proliferation by improving its export control system.

In our rapidly changing world the role of international organizations and multilateral structures has acquired new dimensions and characteristics. The threats humankind is facing today require qualitatively new responses. The danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery means is growing. Events in the current year, inter alia, in South and North East Asia and in the Middle East have come to illustrate eloquently the sensitive nature of missile technology development. MTCR Partners are certain that the MTCR has a key role to play in the coming years.

The MTCR is the only multilateral instrument dedicated to the prevention of the spread of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, thus it has an essential role in non-proliferation complementing various global non-proliferation and disarmament instruments and arrangements.

The MTCR Partners expressed their firm conviction that the forthcoming period will be crucial in terms of the Regime’s adjustment to the changes that have recently occurred. In redefining the MTCR and its operations, Partners agreed that their goal should be to make it more transparent and more known to the outside world. As MTCR is not sufficiently familiar in some quarters, there may be erroneous perceptions about its objectives.

The MTCR Partners supported increased efforts by the Chairman, in consultation with the Partners to engage in dialogue with non Partner governments. In this connection, the Chairman will brief non Partners on developments related to the Budapest Plenary Meeting.

The Chairman issued a statement reflecting the serious concern expressed by the Partners on the question of North Korea’s missile activities.

Promoting these tasks, seminars on export control and technical issues are very useful. In this context, Partners welcomed the Export Control Seminars held in Berlin (Germany) and in Neuchatel (Switzerland). Partners agreed to organize a seminar for border guards and customs experts in 1999.

Partners welcomed the offer of the Netherlands to host next year’s Plenary in autumn 1999.

Members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States

9 October 1998