Balkan Arms Control Efforts Focus on Transparency, Arms Limitations

By Walkling, Sarah | Arms Control Today, February 1996 | Go to article overview

Balkan Arms Control Efforts Focus on Transparency, Arms Limitations


Walkling, Sarah, Arms Control Today


IN AN effort to buttress the beleaguered Bosnian peace process, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian negotiators continue their efforts to complete a range of arms control initiatives to expand regional transparency and limit military force levels and activities.

On January 26, the Bosnian government and Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat representatives signed an agreement on a set of confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs) for Bosnia intended to reduce the risk of conflict and misunderstanding between the sides. Under the agreement, each party must withdraw its forces and heavy weapons to cantonments, barracks or other designated areas by April 18, and may remove them only for military exercises upon prior notification.

Under the accord, during 1996 and 1997 each party may conduct only one military activity involving more than any one of: 4,000 troops, 80 tanks, 100 armored combat vehicles (ACVs), 100 artillery pieces, 15 combat aircraft or 20 combat helicopters. During 1998 and 1999, each party may conduct only one military activity involving more than any one of: 16,000 troops, 80 tanks, 100 ACVs, 100 artillery pieces, 25 combat aircraft or 30 combat helicopters. During any calendar year after 1997, no party may conduct more than three military activities involving more than any one of: 7,000 troops, 75 tanks, 100 ACVs, 100 artillery pieces, 15 combat aircraft or 20 combat helicopters.

In addition, each party can conduct no more than three of these military activities during a calendar year, and no party may carry out two or more such activities simultaneously. None of the activities may be conducted within 10 kilometers of international borders; on either side of the "interentity boundary line" that demarcates the Republic Srpska (the Bosnian Serb entity); in the cities of Gorazde and Breko; within the Posavina Corridor; or on territory transferred from one party to another for two years after the transfer.

New Transparency Measures

The agreement contains a number of transparency measures, including visits between military personnel; voluntary joint military training and exercises; notifications of disbandment of special operations and armed civilian groups, and of changes in command structure and equipment holdings; consultation and cooperation during unusual military activities or hazardous events; advance notification of and invitations to observe military activities involving more than 1,500 troops; and annual information exchanges on the parties' military organizations, manpower, major weapons systems and weapons manufacturing capabilities. None of the CSBMs specifically apply to light weapons.

The agreement also mandates that all foreign forces that were to leave Bosnia by mid-January under the terms of the Dayton accords, "including individual advisers, freedom fighters, trainers, volunteers and personnel from neighboring or any other states which are withdrawn together with their armaments and equipment," may not be reintroduced. It is unclear whether this provision leaves open the option of introducing new foreign personnel.

Heavy Weapons Limitations

In addition to the Bosnian CSBM talks, the three state-parties to the Bosnian conflict have been conducting sub-regional arms control talks since January 5, as required by the Dayton peace accords.

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Balkan Arms Control Efforts Focus on Transparency, Arms Limitations
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