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"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Countries Conclude Balkan Talks

On July 18, 20 countries, including the United States, wrapped up more than two years of troubled negotiations aimed at bolstering confidence- and security-building measures among states in and around the war-torn Balkans. However, the talks’ final four-page document is modest, consisting mostly of voluntary steps countries may take to build on existing commitments.

Article V of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which ended fighting among Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, called for negotiations “establishing a regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia.” A chairman for these talks was not appointed until December 1997, and it took Article V participants, including all the countries in southeastern Europe and other interested countries, nearly a year to agree on a mandate. They ultimately decided not to negotiate an arms control treaty capping weapons levels.

Instead, the talks’ objective became obliging Yugoslavia to undertake commitments similar to those in the Vienna Document. A product of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Vienna Document aims to foster transparency and cooperation among the now-55 OSCE member states and calls on countries to exchange information on their militaries, provide notice of certain military exercises, and host foreign military visits.

But the Article V negotiations lost their impetus after Yugoslavia joined the OSCE last November, thereby pledging to adhere to the Vienna Document, following the October ouster of long-time Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. As a result, the “Concluding Document” of the Article V process merely includes several references encouraging countries to expand upon or enhance measures outlined in the Vienna Document. A commission will meet at least once a year to review implementation of the Concluding Document, which will become effective January 1, 2002.