- 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.
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 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.
- Chemical Weapon Munitions Dumped at Sea
Following the end of World War Two, about 40,000 tons of chemical weapons were dumped into the Baltic Sea. They pose a grave threat to the health of man and the marine environment. It is estimated that these chemical munitions contain some 15,000 tons of chemical warfare agents. Different chemical warfare agents have been found in different locations. In Gotland Deep, which is in Lithuania’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Baltic Sea (the EEZ is about 6, 400 km² and reaches Sweden's territorial waters), an object was found with 9,5 mg/kg concentration of a hazardous chemical - arsenic.
On 20 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly (2nd Committee – sustainable development) unanimously adopted the Lithuania-initiated Resolution on “Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea” (A/RES/65/149), which invites all states to cooperate in assessing environmental effects related to the issue. This was the first triennial resolution that Lithuania initiated on its own. The report of the UN Secretary General, which accompanies the resolution, provides a more detailed picture of states’ initiatives in the field of chemical munitions dumped at sea and sets out guidelines for further cooperation.
The Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force in 1997, applies to chemical weapons which had been dumped at sea before 1 January 1985. Therefore, it does not require reporting or taking other measures from the countries that have dumped chemical munitions at sea or buried them on their territory. However, the Convention stipulates that full responsibility for chemical weapons lifted from the bottom of the sea or washed ashore rests with the state party that lifted or found the weapons. Lithuania has actively participated in the activities of organizations and projects involved in the cleaning up of the Baltic Sea — the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), the CHEMSEA project (ended on 15 February 2014), the Baltic Sea Action Summit (BSAS) and NATO project ‘Towards the Monitoring of Dumped Munitions Threat (MODUM). For more information, please see here: seadumpedcw.org
- Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Acting in accordance with subparagraph 16 of Article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the President’s Decree of 30 December 1997, submitting to the Seimas for ratification the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Chemical Weapons Convention or CWC), the Seimas on 24 February 1998 ratified the aforementioned Convention that was opened for signature in Paris on 13 January 1993.
The OPCW's mission is to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention to achieve the main objective of the Convention - a world free of chemical weapons and the threat of their use, and in which chemistry is used for peace, progress, and prosperity. To this end, the organization aims to ensure a credible and transparent regime for verifying the destruction of chemical weapons and to prevent their re-emergence, while protecting legitimate national security and proprietary interests. In case of suspicion of the use of chemical weapons, the OPCW may carry out a formal investigation into the use of chemical weapons. As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW with its 193 member states, oversees the global endeavor to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. The OPCW also promotes the accomplishment of all the objectives of the Convention and verifies compliance with its provisions.
The Conference of the States Parties is composed of all members of the organization. It is the principal organ of the organization that oversees the activities of the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat. The Executive Council consists of 41 members. Its members are elected for a term of two years. The Executive Council promotes the effective implementation of, and compliance with, the Convention. In addition, it considers concerns about possible non-compliance with the Convention, as well as instances of non-compliance. Lithuania is currently a member of the Executive Council. The term of office will last until May 2022.
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Created: 2014.02.05 / Updated: 2021.10.04 11:50