Overall regional security environment
Looking back at its contribution to the first ASO, written in March 2000, the Union sees an overall improvement in the security situation in the region, with a general lowering of tensions. Relations between the major powers, as ever crucial to the region's security, remain relatively stable. Yet, many of the underlying security risks in the region are undiminished, especially where the fundamental conflicts remain unresolved. Recent development show that setbacks are not excluded. And if generally state to state relations have improved, intra- States conflict has continued to flourish, often posing a security threat not just to the State itself, but to neighbors and even the region more generally,
The coming year is an important one, the region may be faced with threats to the economic recovery that has helped bring new stability to many countries. A continued commitment to economic reform, open markets and good governance will therefore be crucial. The Union has sought to play its part including through the adoption, in February 2001, of the "everything but arms" proposal, extending duty free access without any quantitative restrictions to products originating in the least-developed countries. The Region is also likely soon to give birth to a new independent and democratic state, East Timor. The Union hopes that other States, including Pakistan, Burma/Myanmar and Fuji, will take further steps over the next year to move back into the democratic fold, by so doing increasing regional stability.
The Union sets out below some of the more acute security challenges that, in its view, beset the region. This is not to neglect the other security challenges, often more transnational in character. They include: the civil war in Afghanistan and the overspill of refugees into neighboring countries, both of which are having an effect upon the wider region; widespread violations of basic human rights; the proliferation of small arms, nuclear and missile technology; the problem of landmines; trafficking in persons; the scourge of illegal drugs; and piracy. The Union welcomes the fact that some of these transnational security issues have begun to be addressed by the ARF, although without the ARF losing its focus on mare traditional security issues.
The latest wave of globalization, fed by rapid technological advances and the globalization of information has, as Ministers recognized in Bangkok at the 7th ARF in July 2000, made the case for international security cooperation ever more urgent. The ARF can and should play an important role in addressing that need, not through duplication or substituting for other important actors such as the UN, but by identifying and then bringing its own added value.
Major Security Concerns
The Korean Peninsula
The process of reconciliation between the two Koreas has been one of the most welcome developments of the last year, bringing hopes of a lasting peace to one of the potentially most dangerous parts of the globe. The Union welcomed the Summit held in Pyongyang in June 2000 and encourages the search for a solution bringing lasting peace between the Republic of Korea and the DPRD. The Union support the process of reconciliation now under way between the two Koreas and will continue to contribute to it. The character of the Union's relations with the DPRK will go hand in hand with developments in that country's attitude in various fields such as its rapprochement with the Republic of Korea, a responsible behavior with regard to nuclear and ballistic non-proliferation, developments in the human rights situation, greater access for the population to external aid and openness to trade. The activities of the DPRK in the nuclear and ballistic fields have major implications for stability and security in Asia, because of its behavior with regard to the export of sensitive technologies in regions at risk. The Union expects the DPRK to adopt a responsible attitude and to respond to concerns expressed by the international community in this field. The Union deeply regrets that the DPRK did not attend the ARF ISG in Seoul last October and the OSCE/ROK Conference on CBMs in North East Asia in March. The Council identified a package of incentives to further progress in October 2000 (including possible technical assistance and greater EU market access to products emanating in the DPRK). An EU Troika mission visited Pyongyang in November 2000 and the Union is actively studying how it may offer further support to President Kim Dae-Jung's engagement policy.
The Union welcomes the reduction of tension across the Straits and hopes that this will continue. The Union believes that differences may be resolved peacefully, without the threat or use of force.
Nuclear and missile proliferation in the sub-region, high levels of defense spending, and the ever-present risk of conflict across the line of control in Kashmir highlight the security risks in the present situation. The EU remains convinced that UNSC resolution 1172 should be implemented as soon as possible and without conditions, with Indian and Pakistani signatures of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a first step. The EU has encouraged both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and to resume their bilateral dialogue, in the spirit of the Lahore declaration. The unilateral Indian cease-fire in Kashmir and the subsequent reduction of tensions along the Line of Control have been welcome first steps. The EU would support further such efforts. Resuming cooperation within the framework of the SAARC, and the accession to relevant disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, could further contribute to reduce the potential for armed conflict in the region.
The Union established a new relationship with Indonesia in 2000. It has offered strong support to Indonesia's new democracy. Yet like others, it is alarmed at the violent conflicts that have erupted in so many of Indonesia's provinces. The conflicts have different characters and few common roots, but large-scale refugee flows from such conflicts could well pose a threat to regional security. The union has offered its strong support for Indonesia's territorial integrity. At the same time, it has sought to promote the peaceful resolution of the internal conflicts, rather than the use of force of arms, and has stressed the need for the Government of Indonesia to protect populations at risk. The Union is aware of the difficulties of transition from the preceding regime and recognizes the intrinsic risks of instability during this period, including possible repercussions on the stability of the region. The Union has therefore already reoriented its development cooperation towards areas likely to strengthen the administration's capacity in terms of governance. The Union continues to observe the situation closely and would be ready to consider offering further practical support if required.
Indonesia, because of its size and position, is crucial to durable stability and security in the region and the surrounding sea straits. A strong, united and democratic Indonesia, where disputes are settled peacefully, has an interest that goes for beyond its borders. Economic growth in Indonesia is therefore indispensable, not only for further successful integration efforts in the ASEAN as a whole.
2001 will be a momentous year for East Timor as it prepares for independence. The Union welcomes the progress that has been made by UNTAET and the people of East Timor in rehabilitating the country and building its national democratic institutions. It welcomes also the spirit of cooperation that has been created between East Timorese and Indonesian leaders. Further efforts, however, need to be made by Indonesia to disarm and disband militias in West Timor so as to reduce the security threat to UNTAET and East Timor, and enable the East Timorese refugees in East Nusa Tenggam to make a free and informed choice to return to East Timor or resettle in Indonesia, in accordance with UNSCRs 1319 (2000) and 1338 (2001). This is all the more important given the deadline of 20June for the registration of electors for the constituent assembly elections in East Timor. The Indonesian authorities should also bring to justice those believed to be responsible for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in East Timor. The EU notes with appreciation the decision of 21 March 2001 by the parliament of Indonesia to set up an ad hoc human rights court on East Timor. It underlines the necessity of the development of Indonesia to implement fully this decision in full respect for international human rights standards.
The South China Sea
The security of and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is of major concern to the Union, as it could be to any major trading country. Rival territorial claims should be resolved peacefully and through negotiation. The Union therefore welcomes the continued work on a Code of Conduct as a further useful step following the Manila declaration. It encourages further such efforts and continued restraints by all concerned.
The Philippines has suffered an increase of instability in 2000, due to armed activity by separatist Islamic rebels, particularly in Mindanao, and terrorist kidnapping even taking place outside the country's territory. The whole nation has also seen an increase in armed communist activity. The EU supports the efforts of the new Philippine Government to resume peace negotiations, which offer a fresh opportunity to settle long-standing disputes. The EU is reorienting its development cooperation to assist the Philippines in accommodating intrinsic security challenges.
Events over the last year have again revealed the potential for the internal situation in Burma/Myanmar to become a source of regional insecurity. The Union welcomed the opportunity to discuss the situation with its ASEAN partners at the successful 13th ASEAN-EU Ministerial in Vientiane (December 2000). It has since also welcomed the initial contacts between the SPDC and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and has strongly supported the role played by UN Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail. It hopes that these contacts will develop further and will widen, so as to lead to concrete steps towards national reconciliation, democracy and respect for the human rights of all the peoples of Burma/Myanmar. The Union sent a Troika mission to Burma/Myanmar in January 2001 and stands ready to consider sending a further mission should developments so require. The Union has also welcomed the contacts established between the Government of Burma/Myanmar and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Mr. Sergio Pinheiro, and hopes that the Special Rapporteur will be able to develop a constructive dialogue with all parts of society.
The Union has watched developments over the last year in Fiji and the Solomon Islands with great concern. It opened consultations with Fiji in the framework of the Cotonon Agreement with ACP states in October 2000. It has pressed for the restoration of democratic and constitutional order in both countries, and is encouraged by the decision to hold elections in Fiji under the 1997 constitution in August 2001. It welcomes all bilateral and international efforts to help restore democratic stability, and the new attention given by the ARF to the situation in the region, all the more so given the risk of the spread of instability to other states in the area.
Disarmament and non-proliferation
The EU considers the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. The EU stands firmly behind the 1995 Principles and Objectives and the Final Document from the 2000 Review Conference of the States Parties to the NPT. The international nuclear non- proliferation regime should now be strengthened through the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the immediate commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT). The EU will contribute actively to a successful outcome of the second conference pursuant to Article XIV of the CTBT. To this end, the EU will encourage all States to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay. Furthermore, the EU is concerned about the proliferation of missiles and missile technology and supports efforts to achieve universal adherence to the draft international code of conduct against ballistic missile proliferation.
The EU considers the successful conclusion of the negotiations on a Protocol strengthening the Biological and Toxin weapons Convention (BTWC) as an urgent priority on this year's disarmament and non-proliferation agenda. As all State Parties agree, the Protocol needs to be finalized before the 5th Review Conference in November, and precious little negotiating time is left. The EU underlines the importance of the presentation of a composite Protocol text on March 29 by the Chairman of the negotiations, Ambassador Tibor Toth. It urges all states to reflect on this text as a whole, which should be the platform for political decisions.
The EU also attaches great importance to the UN Conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) in all its aspects, which will be held in New York from 9 to 20 July 2001. The EU strives for concrete results from the Conference and believes that the Conference should adopt a programme of action encompassing political commitments for prevention and cooperation measures, thus setting guidelines for our future work. The Union in convinced that an effective response to the suffering and insecurity called by SALW can only be found in a comprehensive approach with a combination of "demand" and "supply" side strategies together with programmes for disarmament. demobilization and reintegration. confidence-building, conflict resolution, capacity-building and development.
In December, the Second Review Conference on the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) will take place. The CCW and its protocols constitute an essential and integral part of international law and the EU attaches great importance to them. The EU is confident that the Review Conference will show that the CCW is a dynamic and relevant instrument in the field of conventional weapons. Important issues, such as improvement of humanitarian standards of antivehicle mines, and explosive remnants of war, will be in focus at the Conference. Efforts are still needed in order to make the CCW an universal convention. The EU calls upon all states that have not yet done so to accede to the Convention and all its protocols.
The Summit in Zagreb crowned the continued efforts by the EU in favour of re-establishing peace, establishing democracy, developing the economy and stability in the region. All the heads of state in the region (Albania, Bosnia- Hercegovina, Croatia, FRY, FYROM) and the EU met for the first time on 24 November, 2000.
This initiative aims to convey two messages: Firstly, the idea that democracy, regional reconciliation and cooperation, as well as the rapprochement of each of the countries in the region with the EU, go hand in hand. Secondly, the need for an EU strategy which is more coherent and more determined to resolutely support this dynamic. It is supported, in particular, by a new aid programme aimed at the Western Balkans, CARDS, which is endowed with 4.65 million euros for the period 2000-2006.
The Stabilization and Association Process of the EU as endorsed by the Zagreb Summit, is the linchpin of the Stability Pact in which the EU also plays a leading role.
The EU continues to develop its common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). It also continues to playa major role in conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building in its own continent. notably in South East Europe.
The process of enlarging the Union continues apace, which, as EU Foreign Ministers underlined in January 2001, will extend and strengthen the area of peace and stability in Europe. The European Council in December 2000 welcomed the stepping-up of accession negotiations with the candidated countries. In Goteborg, Sweden, in June 2001, the European Council will assess progress in implementing the new accession strategy.
The Council also tasked the present Presidency of the EU (Sweden) together with the High Representative for CFSP, to take forward work on ESDP so that the Union could become operational as soon as possible during 2001 and not later than the European Council of Leaken. A report will be presented to the Goteborg European Council.
The Presidency report to the European Council in December stressed that the aim of the efforts made in the field of ESDP was to give the Union the means to play its role fully on the international stage and of assuming its responsibilities in the face of crises by adding to the range of non-military instruments already at its disposal and autonomous capacity to take decisions and actions in the military field. In developing this autonomous capacity to take decisions, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international crises, the Union will be able to carry out a wide range of tasks: humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping and the tasks of combat force in crises management, including peacemaking. This does not involve the creation of a European army.
The Presidency report underlined that the development of ESDP strengthens the Union's contribution to international peace and security in accordance with the UN Charter. The EU recognizes the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council for maintaining peace and security. In the beginning of 2001, the EU has established a permanent Political and Security Committee as well as a Military Committee. A Military Staff will soon also become permanent. The Union has also been actively involved in working on the civilian as aspects of crisis management, including the development of a initial capability for planning and conducting police operations and a request for voluntary contributions with respect to police. Work is also under way in the fields of the rule of law and civil protection. The Union is committed to keeping its ARF partners informed of developments in ESDP.