Forum for Security Co-operation

The Forum for Security Co-operation meets weekly throughout much of the year in Vienna to discuss and make decisions regarding military aspects of security in the OSCE area, in particular confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs).

The Forum consists of representatives of the OSCE participating states—usually the same individuals who serve in the Permanent Council.

Responsibilities
Delegations of the 56 OSCE participating States, including Russia and the United States, discuss the missile defence initiative at a meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation, in Vienna, 31 October 2007. (OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)

Delegations of the [then] 56 OSCE participating States, including Russia and the United States, discuss the missile defence initiative at a meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation, in Vienna, 31 October 2007. (OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)

The Forum is responsible for:

  • Discussing and clarifying information exchanged under CSBM agreements
  • Implementation of CSBMs
  • Annual implementation assessment meetings
  • Preparation of seminars on military doctrine
Highlights
Participants of the regional Vienna Document seminar pose for a group photo, Astana, 30 May 2012. ( Kazakhstan's Ministry of Defence)

Participants of the regional Vienna Document seminar pose for a group photo, Astana, 30 May 2012. (Kazakhstan's Ministry of Defence)

The FSC has negotiated extensive CSBM agreements, known as the Vienna Document agreements, the most recent of which was adopted at the Istanbul Summit in 1999; these documents built on and superseded the Basket 1 confidence-building measures included in the Helsinki Final Act and the subsequent 1986 Stockholm Document.

Under the auspices of the OSCE, three CSBM/arms control agreements were negotiated as part of the implementation process for the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnian war.

OSCE expert John Paul Grimsley gives practical on-site training to Moldovan Army Officers on safe explosive ordnance disposal, as part of an OSCE Mission to Moldova project on air bomb destruction, Bulboaca Military Training Area, 7 July 2011. (OSCE/Liubomir Ţurcanu)

OSCE expert John Paul Grimsley gives practical on-site training to Moldovan Army Officers on safe explosive ordnance disposal, as part of an OSCE Mission to Moldova project on air bomb destruction, Bulboaca Military Training Area, 7 July 2011. (OSCE/Liubomir Ţurcanu)

The 2000 Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons and subsequent agreements and practical assistance projects have addressed the threats of illicit weapons and excess and unsafe stockpiles.

Joint Consultative Group, CFE, and Open Skies

The Joint Consultative Group is a special associated body responsible for monitoring and implementing the:

  • Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE)
  • Treaty on Open Skies

As legally binding treaties, these two documents are not formally part of the OSCE and not all participating states are signatories; nonetheless, the JCG works closely with the OSCE to monitor and implement these agreements. The original CFE Treaty was adopted at the CSCE Summit in Paris in 1990 and included 30 participating states (those that were then members of NATO or the Warsaw Pact); it limited quantities and deployment areas of heavy military equipment on the European continent. The Adapted CFE Treaty was signed at the 1999 Istanbul Summit, but has not entered into force due to the non-implementation of associated Russian commitments to withdraw troops from Georgia and Moldova. All signatories agreed to abide by its terms on an interim basis, until Russia suspended its participation in CFE in 2007.

The Obama administration proposed resolving the CFE dispute through a draft “framework” for new negotiations to strengthen the CFE Treaty regime. But Russia was unwilling to agree to the principle of host-country consent or to a resumption of compliance with the original CFE Treaty.

In response, the U.S. announced in 2011 that it would cease carrying out certain obligations under the CFE Treaty with regard to Russia.  The U.S. explained that it would not accept Russian inspections of its bases under the CFE Treaty, and not provide Russia with the annual notifications and military data called for in the Treaty.  Most U.S. NATO allies adopted the same decision.  The U.S. stated that it would continue to implement the Treaty and carry out all obligations with all States Parties other than Russia, and would not exceed the pact’s numerical limits on conventional armaments. The U.S. added that it would resume full CFE Treaty implementation if Russia resumed implementation of its Treaty obligations.