Organization of American States
November 10, 1995
Adopted at the fourth plenary session held on November 10, 1995
Changes that have taken place in the international arena, the emergence of democratic governments in the Hemisphere, and the end of the Cold War have created a climate conducive to strengthening peace and security in the Hemisphere. The way has thereby been paved for OAS member states of the Organization of American States to continue the necessary process of reflection to eliminate those factors that breed mistrust among states of the Hemisphere and identify new modalities of cooperation to consolidate peace, ensure effective achievement of the purposes of the OAS Charter and adherence to its principles, guarantee effective compliance with international law, and promote ties of friendship and cooperation, all of which will enhance security in the region.
The adoption of confidence- and security-building measures is a significant contribution to transparency, mutual understanding, and regional security, and to the attainment of development goals, including efforts to overcome poverty and protect the environment. Economic, social and cultural development is inextricably linked to international peace and security.
Confidence- and security-building measures must be adapted to the geographic, political, social, cultural and economic conditions of each region, and they have their own scope, as experience in the Hemisphere has amply demonstrated.
Respect for international law, faithful compliance with treaties, the peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for the sovereignty of states and non-intervention, and prohibition of the use or threat of the use of force in accordance with the terms of the OAS and United Nations Charters are the basis for peaceful coexistence and security in the Hemisphere and constitute the framework of the Organization of American States and the United Nations for the development of confidence- and security-building measures.
The governments express their satisfaction with progress made in the Hemisphere in the area of economic integration, since, in their view, this promotes confidence and security in the region.
An essential condition for achieving an effective international security system is that all states subject themselves to universal, equal, and binding rules.
The agreements arising from the regional and subregional meetings of heads of state and government and from the Summit of the Americas held in Miami in 1994 are important guidelines for strengthening regional security.
Negotiations on security- and confidence-building measures pursued at the subregional level, such as those conducted by the Central American countries through, inter alia, the Central American Commission on Security, make for a stronger climate of security in the Hemisphere.
Other inter-governmental meetings, such as the Williamsburg event held by invitation of the United States (Defense Ministerial of the Americas), contribute to the dialogue and exchange of points of view on this subject.
A key component in the Hemisphere's contribution to the cause of peace and security is the Treaty of Tlatelolco, whose provisions banning nuclear weapons have made Latin America and the Caribbean the first populated nuclear weapons-free zone in the world. Ratification of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxic Weapons, and on their Destruction, signed in 1972, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons, and on their Destruction, signed in 1992; the conclusion in 1996 of the comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty, and progress in negotiations in the area of weapons of mass destruction, the limitation of conventional weapons, and the prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects will contribute to a more secure international environment.
The application of confidence- and security-building measures helps create a climate conducive to effective limitation of conventional weapons, which makes it possible to devote more resources to the economic and social development of member states, which is a basic purpose of the OAS Charter.
The strengthening of bilateral and multilateral dialogue facilitates mutual understanding and increased collaboration in the face of the challenges of the next century. Confidence- and security-building measures in the Americas are especially significant for building ties of friendship and cooperation.
The Meeting of Experts in Buenos Aires in March of 1994, as well as OAS General Assembly resolutions, in particular, AG/RES. 1179 (XXII-O/92), AG/RES. 1284 (XXIV-O/94), and AG/RES. 1288 (XXIV-O/94), and the draft inventory submitted by the Inter-American Defense Board to the Permanent Council in compliance with resolution CP/RES. 650 (1031/95), are noteworthy in the process of identifying confidence- and security-building measures.
In accordance with the foregoing, the governments of the OAS member states, meeting in Santiago, Chile, agree to recommend the application, in the manner that is most suitable, of confidence- and security-building measures, among which the following should be mentioned:
The measures that have been announced require that a series of actions be set in motion for the monitoring and periodic evaluation of their implementation. To that end, the representatives of the OAS member state governments request the Committee on Hemispheric Security to undertake those tasks and to prepare a report on this subject for consideration by the General Assembly at its twenty-sixth regular session, which will decide, inter alia, whether a regional conference should be held to follow up the Regional Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures held in Santiago, Chile.
In view of the importance of knowing about other measures being applied or that might be adopted, the representatives agree to provide periodically to the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security information on the application of confidence- and security-building measures so as to facilitate preparation of the complete and systematic inventory of these measures, as instructed by the OAS General Assembly.
The representatives support continuation of the international negotiations on the prohibition of, traffic in, and indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines, given the harmful effects that anti-personnel mines have on the civilian population and on economic and social development. In this regard, they recognize the work of mine-clearing in which the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Defense Board are engaged in Central America.
The governments of the Hemisphere attach special priority to identifying the risks, threats and challenges facing the Americas on the threshold of the next millennium, and to promoting an international climate confidence trust and peace based on cooperation in accordance with the objectives and principles of the OAS Charter.
In this context, they commit their efforts toward achieving, as soon as possible, the settlement of ongoing disputes by means of negotiated agreements, inspired by justice and full respect for international law and the treaties in force.
The representatives agree that the Americas are in a position to contribute to bolstering international peace and security effectively through an exchange of experiences in confidence- and security-building measures with other regions.
The representatives state for the record their appreciation to the Government of Chile for the warm welcome extended to them and the fine organization of the meeting. They also extend their appreciation to the General Secretariat of the OAS.