Meeting in Vienna from October 31 to November 2, the parties to the June 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control held a review conference to assess implementation of the agreement and reaffirm their commitment to its weapon ceilings and inspection regime. The review conference, only the second in the agreement's history, had been originally scheduled for June but was postponed when the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) temporarily suspended its participation in the arms control accord. (See ACT, July/August 2000.) The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) described the review conference, chaired by the FRY delegation, as "very collegial."
Under the terms of the agreement, the FRY, Croatia, and the two entities comprising Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Bosnian Serb-controlled Republika Srpska) consented to caps on their holdings of tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters. The governments also agreed to permit inspections of and exchange information on their weapons holdings. Since signing the agreement, the parties have met their arms limits, destroying more than 7,000 weapons in the process.
At the review conference, the parties expressed "their satisfaction" with implementation of the agreement and "their willingness to consider any measures that would increase transparency and cooperation," according to an OSCE press release. The parties have not yet used all the existing provisions for increased transparency in the agreement, however, such as the option of conducting undeclared site inspections.
Future implementation of the agreement could be affected by the change of government in the FRY. Slobodan Milosevic, who orchestrated the wars that resulted in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, relinquished the FRY presidency October 6, after demonstrators stormed government buildings to support the September 24 election of opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica. The United Nations granted the FRY membership November 1, and the OSCE followed suit November 10.