regional security -
Hans J. Giessmann
The globalisation of security issues has enhanced the importance of multi-lateral co-operation. Many issues of security can be tackled more intensively on a regional scale, because regional actors have more political interests in common, also because there are economic interdependencies, a close neighbourhood-interaction and cultural affinities among the partners. Over time, various frameworks of regional co-operation have emerged worldwide, more or less comprehensive, more or less binding. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is one of them. The OSCE comprises 55 European nations, including Canada and the United States, and it is primarily aimed at enhancing mutually beneficial co-operation and security in Europe.
The OSCE is usually considered a specific European success story. In fact, the organization has contributed much to the peaceful transformation in Eastern Europe and to the ending of the Cold War. Being the only pan-European organization, the OSCE offers not only an overarching framework for co-operation, but provides a whole set of practical tools and mechanisms for diminishing the likelihood of violent conflict whether between or within state boundaries. Much has been said and written about whether the specific experiences that the OSCE has gathered are applicable to other regions as well. The following analysis intends to take a closer look at the successes and failures of the OSCE, its obvious strengths and possible deficits, in order to facilitate reasonable responses to this question. While the historical circumstances of the OSCE genesis will be touched upon only very briefly, the major analytical focus will be laid at the functioning of the OSCE and the practicability of its experiences for other regional settings.
The author is especially grateful to the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, for being given the unique opportunity to discuss an earlier version of this paper with distinguished researchers in the Republic of Korea, and the OSCE-Research Centre (CORE) at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg for providing expertise and support. More data, facts and information on the OSCE can be taken from OSCE sources, the most important being the OSCE Handbook and official documents, both available on the Internet at the OSCE Homepage: http://www.osce.org.
From the CSCE to the OSCE
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was first established in June 1975 in Helsinki, as a permanent conference forum (Conference for Security and Co-operation - CSCE). The first ideas for creating a comprehensive pan-European security system ware raised in the 1950s, by the Soviet Union. At that time, however, the Soviet proposals were considered by the Western powers only another effort to decouple Western Europe from the United States and to weaken the newly established transatlantic security alliance formed by NATO. With the crackdown of the uprising in Hungary (1956), the erection of the Berlin Wall (1961) and the Cuban missile crisis (1962), the idea was shelved.
But it was exactly that consolidation of world powers during the Cold War that contributed to generating anew interests on both sides of the European dividing line and diminishing the risks of an unintended outbreak of war between them. The first arms control efforts and the beginning of a cautious co-operation between East and West led to a changing climate wherein the first moves of détente could take place. The idea of creating a permanent forum for multilateral co-operation was renewed. For the first time in 1969, the Western Alliance indicated that it would be willing to participate in such a conference provided that certain conditions were met: the full participation of the United States and Canada, the reconfirmation of the legal status of Berlin, a discussion of conventional disarmament in Europe, and the inclusion of human rights issues on the agenda.1)
The most basic obstacles would be removed in the following years.2) Invited by the Finnish Government, the first talks on drafting a conceptual framework for a pan-European conference began in fall 1972. Apart from Albania, which decided to stay away from the talks, all European states, the U.S. and Canada, took part from the very start. The setting-up phase ended with the signing of the CSCE-Final Act in Helsinki on 1 August 1975. (Chart 1)
in the CSCE/OSCE,
OSCE Handbook, Annex I
The Final Act of Helsinki comprised ten founding principles forming the normative basis for the following co-operation among the participating States of the CSCE:3)
Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty;
Compared with other multi-lateral organizations the CSCE was characterised by remarkable innovations.4)
Firstly, in an era of block-to-block confrontation, it had a wide and inclusive membership, i.e. all states of a region were involved, independent of their military affiliations, their political structures, economic systems and founding ideologies. Each participating state took part in its sovereign and independent capacity, with equal voting, whether it was big or small, whether or not it belonged to an alliance of states.
Secondly, at a time when most negotiations and security organizations had adopted a piecemeal, mainly military, approach to security, it endorsed a comprehensive perspective. Security was explicitly understood in an extended way, thereby including not only military but also political, economic, social, cultural and humanitarian issues as well.
Thirdly, the decisions of the conference were taken by consensus thus often making the decision-making process as important as the decisions themselves. Though it can be argued that the search for a compromise among 55 nations limited the scope of agreement, any consent reached and agreed upon generated a high rate of political legitimacy and moral binding. Moreover, the process of tackling especially sensitive issues provided a lot of opportunities to address individual concerns and to clarify disputed issues in pro-active ways.
Fourthly, its decisions were politically rather than legally binding, given the conferences considerable flexibility. No participating State had to be afraid of being forced by others to undertake measures against its will. Lacking mechanisms of legal enforcement made it easier for the participating States to reach out for a consensus.
Fifth, and finally, the CSCE had no institutional structures until 1994; the result being that the very impetus needed to keep the process going was an end in itself.
To conclude, the CSCE, though being comprehensive and inclusive, was based on equality and flexibility, on political will and consensus of all participating States, and it was from the very outset a lean structure in the true sense of the word. Being hardly more than a conference mechanism at first, the CSCE provided the participants with three assets that had not existed before.
First, a normative code of conduct that was accepted by all participants helped strengthen the idea of a common regional identity, independent of existing politico-military confrontation and ideological opposition. The recognition of transparent norms and common principles in their state-to-state relations created a framework, by which the participating States for the first time could develop stable, flexible patterns of bilateral, sub-regional and regional co-operation. Also, such a framework provided a somewhat verifiable code for handling diverging interests among the participants. More importantly, however, the political commitment of the governments of Eastern European states to adhere to specific norms and principles gave the people within these states the opportunity to address issues related to these norms to their governments. Hence, it became more difficult for any government to bluntly violate the Helsinki norms, also in its domestic politics, for domestic behaviour of all governments could now be measured against their public commitments. Besides, the Helsinki norms encouraged more and more people in Eastern and Central Europe to speak up and to call upon their governments to cope with their own commitments. In fact, it can be argued that the CSCE norms sowed the seeds of peaceful transformation, which took place a decade later.
Secondly, the CSCE opened up venues for permanent channels of a multi-layered and multilateral communication between the participating States. As important, the meetings took place regularly, by which the partners were not only given the opportunity to address matters of dispute early and pro-actively, but also by which any measure was fed-back multilaterally, and decision-making and enforcement could be verified and controlled. Regular meetings helped the participants to get to know and understand each other, to overcome distrust and to create growing confidence among them, thereby facilitating solutions for even difficult and sensitive issues.
Thirdly, the comprehensive CSCE agenda was prospective. It provided not only a wide range of fields for co-operation, but created a long-term vision for such co-operation, independent of progress in each of the individual fields.
Three inter-related topics were put into separate baskets: security dialogue and military confidence building; economic co-operation; and human rights and humanitarian issues.
The basket-construction of the CSCE provided leverage to the participating States for linking different issues, when necessary or helpful. It can be argued that the Eastern States were more interested in the first basket because it endorsed the post-war status quo of Europe and especially strengthened the legitimacy of the communist rule. They were also interested in the second basket for acquiring economic and financial assistance from the West, the Western States laid the primary focus on a gradual systemic change of the Eastern societies and humanitarian relief for the people living in the East. As a matter of fact, human rights issues that had been a "long-standing taboo"5) in East-West relations became by virtue of the Final Act, for the first time, a legitimate subject of multilateral dialogue. While the Eastern participating governments may have hoped that by earning recognition for the post-war status quo, to consolidate their rule within fixed boundaries, they in fact made this rule subject to critical evaluation, both internally and externally. The diplomatic offensive turned into political defensive.
The triumph of the CSCE, as one observer recently has noted, was not really a reflection of the messages manifested in its documents: "Rather, this triumph was firstly due to the signals radiating from the 'third basket' into the rigid Soviet socialist ruling systems, and secondly to the fact that the entire institution contributed to making the end phase of the East-West conflict almost totally free of violent disturbances."6) Yet, the importance of the CSCE reached way beyond that. It became a catalyst for fostering security and co-operation in Europe and overcoming the ideological division of Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.7) As the former Secretary General Wilhelm Hynck stated, it "provided millions of people with hope for a better future and with the courage to stand up for their human rights and for liberty. This was the most important contribution of the CSCE process to a peaceful democratic change and to the overcoming of the bloc confrontation."8)
More than twenty years passed by, however, before the Charter of Paris, which was signed on 21 November 1990 in Paris,9) took stock of the end of the Cold War and the opening of a new era. Starting from the premise that "Europe whole and free is calling for a new beginning,"10) the Summit decided that now it was necessary to institutionalise the CSCE through a mechanism for political consultations as well a set of permanent institutions.11) The Charter established the first permanent institutions of the then still CSCE. For example, the foreign minister of the host country was to chair all council meetings within the one-year period of a country's responsibility. Thereby, each respective host country was given more impact on initiating change in substance and in procedural matters, especially when compared with the principle of daily-rotating chairmanships that was applied before. It was decided that high officials of foreign ministries would meet regularly as the Committee of Senior Officials. In order to support the council and committee processes, a permanent administrative infrastructure was established. It included a secretariat, a Conflict Prevention Centre and an Office for Free Elections. Each of which was equipped with a small skeleton staff and - in order to avoid a centralized bureaucracy - dispersed over three locations, in Prague, Vienna, and Warsaw. Moreover, in April 1991, a CSCE Parliamentary Assembly was set up in Copenhagen.
Despite the fact that the Cold War had come to an end, European security, unexpectedly, soon got on to dangerous ground again. In July 1991 the Committee of Senior Officials was forced to deal with the emerging war in the dismembering Yugoslavia. While the dramatic events contributed to consolidating the role of the CSCE chairmanship -as it is the most important body for taking initiatives and determining a possible common denominator of views among the participating States-12) and to creating new mechanisms within the CSCE as well as strengthening commitments made by the participating States and principles of human rights such as free elections, freedom of the media and the protection of persons belonging to National Minorities, the CSCE faced tasks of crisis reaction it had not been prepared for adequately. It became clear that for acquiring more operational capability the CSCE had to transform itself from a low-level institutionalised conference mechanism into an organization.
This decision was taken at the Budapest Summit Meeting on 5 and 6 December 1994 becoming effective on 1 January 1995. Though neither the character of commitments and principles nor the status of institutions became altered significantly, by renaming the major decision-making bodies, the participating States expressed their political will to provide a new impetus and dynamic to the CSCE as the "primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management" from Vancouver to Vladivostok.13) The CSCE was renamed OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
In view of the crises in former Yugoslavia, Russia and some of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, the Budapest summit called for strengthening existing instruments and mechanisms of the OSCE, endorsing a new Code of Conduct on politico-military aspects of security which comprised principles for the role of armed forces in democratic societies, and reiterated the role of the so-called Stockholm Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs), as laid out in the Vienna Document 1994.
In reality, Europe as of 1994 was much different from the "Europe whole and free" that was envisaged by the Charter of Paris in 1990. Therefore, the participating States agreed on elaborating on a model for a common and comprehensive security for a Europe of the twenty-first century - signed in November 1999, at the Istanbul summit. The Charter for European Security sounds less ambitious than its predecessor almost a decade ago. It still aims, however, at strengthening the Organization's ability to prevent and to settle conflicts, to rehabilitate war-affected societies and to strengthen democracy and freedom in the OSCE area.
The OSCE - structure, instruments, priorities, dimensions
Structure and Instruments
The OSCE has established several bodies for decision-making and operational activities. The most important of which for decision-making are Summits, Review Conferences, the Ministerial Council, the Permanent Council, the Senior Council and the Forum for Security Co-operation.
Based on preceding political decisions taken by the participating States the operational activities of the OSCE are controlled by the Chairman-in-Office, who can also initiate decisions to be taken by the participants. The Secretary General and the OSCE Secretariat support the Chairman-in-Office.
Other important institutions belonging to the OSCE are the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Representative on Freedom of the Media, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. (Cf. Chart 2)
During the nineties, summits of the heads of state or government were held usually on a biannual basis. The Paris summit of 1990 was followed by the Helsinki summit (1992), the Budapest summit (1994), the Lisbon summit (1996) and the Istanbul summit (1999). It has become clear during the last years, however, especially in the case of the Istanbul summit that both negotiations on sensitive issues such as conventional arms control, and also the implementation of decisions taken, may face problems that make it difficult to stick to a tight schedule of frequent summit meetings. This is all the more true, because for some nations the OSCE process cannot be disconnected from other European developments such as the enlargement of NATO or of the EU. Because decisions on the next steps of NATO-enlargement have not yet been decided, the next OSCE summit will most likely be postponed.
The Istanbul summit adopted the Charter for European Security14) and the Istanbul Summit Declaration.15) At first glance the summit was successful. A charter that aims to further strengthening the operational capabilities of the OSCE and to promoting inter-locking co-operation with other international organizations and institutions was signed. The participating States committed themselves to a more prominent role for the OSCE in peacekeeping, police-related activities and crisis reaction. Moreover, the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) was adjusted to the changes brought about by the ending of the bloc-to-bloc structure of security in Europe and was signed by 30 OSCE participating States. A closer look at what has been achieved, however, reveals more diverging interests among some of the participants than ever before since 1994. The result of which became strikingly clear only shortly after, when in November 2000, for the first time since the foundation of the OSCE, a ministerial meeting ended without agreement on a final communiqué. The then Chairperson-in-Office, the Austrian Foreign Minster Ferrero-Waldner was forced to conceal the major political failure16) of the meeting by issuing a unilateral "Statement by the Chairman-in-Office."17) However, despite this temporary political failure, summits and ministerial council meetings remain the most important instruments for the participating States to provide legitimacy to OSCE decisions.
Review conferences precede and prepare participants for summits.18) The idea of review conferences can be traced back to the follow-up meetings that took place after the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. These were ad hoc meetings, held on a ministerial level, where the participating States reviewed the implementation of CSCE commitments and prepared for follow-up decisions to be taken at the summits. While in the eighties these meetings turned out to be very time-consuming before consensus was achieved, the participating States in 1994 agreed on a limited duration for review conferences of three months before the next summit would take place. However, the participating States may call upon special review conferences for selected matters such as CSBMs or human rights issues.
The Ministerial Council
The Ministerial is the highest OSCE decision-making body between two summits. It is made up of the foreign ministers of the OSCEs participating States and meets at least once a year except those years when a summit takes place. The principal task of the Ministerial is to foster and to control the implementation of political decisions taken at the summits. Its pivotal role within the OSCE operational process was determined by the Budapest summit in 1994. The ministerial meeting is always held in the host country of the Chairman-in-Office. For this reason the Ministerial of 2000 took place in Vienna and the 2001 Ministerial will be organized by Romania in Bucharest.
The Permanent Council and the Senior Council
The Permanent Council is located in Vienna and is the day-to-day body for political consultation and decision-making of the OSCE. Its members are ambassadors who represent their governments at the weekly meetings in the Hofburg. Apart from these regular meetings, special and ad hoc meetings that provide the states with a variety of informal channels for permanent communication and consultation are held. During the Istanbul summit in 1999, the heads of states and governments agreed on establishing a special preparatory committee under the Permanent Council's direction to enhance the process of political consultation and transparency within the Organization.
The political directors make up the Senior Council from the foreign ministries of the participating States. It was intended to oversee and co-ordinate OSCE affairs between sessions of the Ministerial Council. Meanwhile, however, the Senior Council's work has mainly shifted to the Permanent Council, since 1997 the Senior Council has met only as the Economic Forum of the OSCE.19)
The Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC)
The Forum for Security Co-operation meets on a weekly basis in Vienna to discuss measures aimed at strengthening confidence and security in Europe. Its agenda comprises arms control matters, disarmament, confidence- and security-building as well as security co-operation among the participating States, risk reduction and the implementation of decisions and agreed measures. The FSC organizes Annual Implementation Assessment Meetings and it is responsible for overseeing the adherence of the participating States to the Politico-Military Code of Conduct. The FSC is the principal body of the OSCE dealing in detail with all aspects of military security in the OSCE area.20) It was established according to the Helsinki Document of 1992, which outlined a comprehensive agenda for the FSC, the "Programme for Immediate Action."21) On the basis of this programme the FSC is dealing with22)
harmonisation of obligations related to arms control, disarmament and confidence-building,
The Chairman-in-Office (CiO)
The prerogatives of the Chairman-in-Office were codified already during the Helsinki summit in 1972 as follows: to ensure co-ordination of and consultation on current C/OSCE business; to communicate Council/Permanent Committee decisions to C/OSCE institutions and to give them advice regarding those decisions; and to serve as a channel for early warning and to co-ordinate C/OSCE conflict prevention and crisis management activities.23)
The CiO is held by the foreign minister of a participating States and rotates annually. In 2001, Romania took over the CiO from Austria. The Helsinki summit also introduced assisting instruments to the CiO, among them the so-called Troika of the previous and succeeding chairmen and the CiO himself. The chairman may also call upon forming ad hoc steering groups, as in the case of the Minsk Group on Nagorniy Karabach, and he can appoint personal representatives for issues of operational conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation. Because the OSCE has been challenged in many operational matters concerned with conflict management, the position of the CiO has been strengthened over time. The CiO initiates peacekeeping-missions, exercises political control and operational guidance of field missions, nominates the heads of missions and is also responsible for the co-ordination of OSCE activities with those of other institutions and organizations. The more the CiO acquires competence and influence, however, the more he or she may become exposed to the critique of having exploited the Chair to pursue national interests of the chairing country. So far, there has not been much reason for concern in this respect. But considering the continued challenge for the OSCE to act in the field, the present annual rotation circles of the CiO may make the success of missions dependent on the personal engagement of individual persons and countries. The dilemma between rotation and requirements for continuity fuels the argument that the position of the appointed secretary general should be strengthened.
The Secretary General and the Secretariat
The secretary general acts as the representative of the Chairman-in-Office. The post of the Secretary General was established in 1992. The former Foreign Minister of Slovakia, Jan Kubi? holds the post at the moment. The duties of the Secretary General comprise:
day-to-day managing of OSCE structures and operations;
The Secretariat provides operational support to all OSCE activities. It is based in Vienna, and is assisted by an office in Prague, where it had been located in the first place, from 1991 to 1993. The Secretariat consists of six structural elements: the Office of the Secretary General, the Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC), the Department for Support Service and Budget, the Department of Human Resources, the post of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, and the Prague Office of the Secretariat. After the Secretariat had been moved from Prague to Vienna, the Prague Office functions was turned into a assisting body, providing archive facilities open to researchers and help to organize meetings of the Economic Forum in the Czech Republic. The CPC serves, among others, as a clearinghouse for all data and information regarding the planning of OSCE mission activities. It identifies potential crisis spots, provides information about missions proceedings and updates files on military exchange information as agreed upon in the Vienna Document.
The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
The ODIHR is based in Warsaw. Established first as an Office for Free Elections in 1990, the 1992 Prague Ministerial Council decided to transform the Office into an institution dealing with all aspects of democracy building and the protection of human rights. The main functions of the ODIHR are as follows:
Promoting democratic elections, especially by monitoring election processes;
As regards elections, the OSCE has defined a fixed pattern for their democratic and free character which was set out in the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting from the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE in June 1990, and which points to the commitments by all OSCE participating States to free and democratic elections. This pattern comprises basically nine rules:26)
Free elections should be held at reasonable intervals, as established by (national)
Moreover, the Copenhagen Document has called upon all participating States to consider the presence of domestic observers and of independent observers from other States to the extent permitted by law, by which is meant among others, that observation should not be misused for interference.
In practice the ODIHR election-monitoring mission begins with a formal invitation by a host government to observe an election. Then ODIHR sends out the needed assessment mission to the country, often in co-operation with other international organizations such as the European Council or the European Union, to assess pre-election conditions. After that, ODIHR requests personnel from other OSCE states for short-term and long-term monitoring select a core team and appoint a mission head. Shortly after the election has taken place, a preliminary statement is released. Within some weeks a final report is made public. The election missions are understood as a process evaluation, i.e. they cover a reasonable time before and after Election Day. Therefore, an ODIHR election monitoring usually lasts several months.27) Since 1991, the ODIHR has assisted in the observation of about 100 elections and referendums.28)
Apart from observation and monitoring, the ODIHR also provides training and assistance to participating States in order to help them improve their election processes, including legal advice, training programs, assisting in the implementation of ODIHR recommendations. During the last decade ODIHR for example assisted several countries, like Georgia and Latvia in drafting election legislation, citizenship-legislation, or providing practical assistance in preparing for the Election Day.
The second realm of responsibility for ODIHR is the provision of support for democracy building in transforming societies. The major focus of ODIHRs activities is laid on the strengthening of democratic institutions and on promoting civil society from scratch. Such as in the case of electoral support, ODIHR provides primarily training programs, technical assistance, educational support, assistance to NGOs, programs dealing with gender issues and religious freedom. In the last years, post conflict and post crisis rehabilitation has become more and more a subject of ODIHRs core activities.
The third area of ODIHR activities includes the permanent monitoring of states compliance and their commitments as regards the protection of human rights and the protection of minorities, with a special focus on Roma and Sinti issues. ODIHR provides information for decision-making by the CiO or by the governments of the participating States at council meetings, review conferences or specific implementation meetings. The contact point for Sinti and Roma that has been established at ODIHRs office in Warsaw in 1995 provides assistance to the participating States on policy-making, as well as to the Roma and Sinti communities, in order to encourage them to participate and be represented in the political life of their home countries. Moreover, the contact point offers documentation and information to OSCE institutions and field missions, international organizations, participating States, and NGOs.29)
Over time the ODIHR has developed into the Organization's "Jack-of-all-trades".30) It has taken up more and more operational tasks, which have brought the office a long way from where the former Office of Free Elections was intended to be. After the principles of human rights, all participating States have agreed upon democracy-building and free elections, the principle task of the ODIHR will focus in the years to come on practical matters, especially by providing concrete electoral assistance and by promoting the human dimension of the OSCE. One important part of this task is not only to strengthen the commitments made by the governments of the participating States, but also to rely on support by NGOs, the media and the public at large. For the implementation of the human dimension, commitments that require the permanent and full attention of the OSCE will have to be made and the ODIHR will have to pay more attention to target-oriented projects.31) Moreover, the ODIHR will have to seriously consider expanding its activities way beyond the traditional focus on transforming societies in Central and Eastern Europe. The criticism that the ODIHR places too much emphasis on the human dimension should be considered unfounded. However, the limitation of practical attention paid by the ODIHR to issues in Central and Eastern Europe, while leaving aside other countries such as Turkey, poses a problem to OSCE policy that from the very beginning of the CSCE has been traditionally a predominantly Western driven issue.32) However, as Oberschmidt and Zellner have pointed out, the problem of a "double standard" applies also for Central and Eastern Europe. While for political reasons violations of human rights, for example in Russia, are only treated selectively, smaller and weaker participating States like those in Central Asia or Belarus are permanently "bashed" in this regard.33)
The High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM)
The Helsinki-Document of 1992 established the post of a High Commissioner on National Minorities. The mandate describes the role of the High Commissioner as "an instrument of conflict prevention at the earliest possible stage."34) The High Commissioners task is to identify and to seek the earliest possible resolution if ethnic tensions might endanger peace, stability and friendly relations between the OSCE states. The first commissioner to be appointed in December 1992 was the former Dutch Foreign Minister Max van der Stoel. As van der Stoel has stated, the High Commissioner has a two-fold mission: first, to try to contribute to solutions for particular inter-ethnic problems and thus contain and de-escalate tensions involving national minority issues, and second, to alert OSCE participating States, by issuing an "early warning", whenever such tensions threaten to develop to a level at which he can no longer work towards their containment with the means at his disposal.35) The Office of the High Commissioner is located in The Hague. Max van der Stoel has frequently reiterated, that the post of the High Commissioner means, that he is in charge of issues concerned with national minorities and not an ombudsman for national minorities, nor does he investigate individual minority rights violations.36)
Different from other OSCE institutions, the activities of the High Commissioner take place in such a way that media does not pay much attention to them. Confidentiality is Max van der Stoel's secret to the many successes he has achieved during his period in office, which expires in 2001.37) On the other hand it is the same confidentiality that makes it so difficult to popularise these successes to a broad political audience and receive due media coverage. Since 1993 the High Commissioner has become involved in conflict prevention and conflict resolutions in most of Central and Eastern Europe, for example in Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Ukraine. The broad range of activities is all the more worth noting, for the budget of the HCNM is comparably slim. Although it has almost doubled after 1995, it has not exceeded 1.5 million Euros in 2000.38)
The problem in dealing with issues of national minorities is that these minorities are not taking part in the decision-making processes of the governments represented at the conference tables of state-to-state relations. On the other hand, wherever minority issues are subject of concern, it is often governments that are involved in these matters in one way or the other. The mandate, which was given to the High Commissioner in 1992, showed consideration for the sensitive role of the High Commissioner. First of all, his role was described as that of an independent, external third party. Secondly, an approval of the OSCE Permanent Council for launching the High Commissioner's activity is not required. Thirdly, and finally, the High Commissioner has been given far-reaching competencies when involved in a given situation, including the right to enter a states territory without a government's formal consent or the explicit support of other participating States. In reviewing his long-term engagement as High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel reflected on six basic experiences:39)
First, the so-called "kin-states", i.e. states that have a related minority on the other side of the border, are legitimately interested in the fate of this people. On the other hand, those states within which such minorities settle frequently, have expressed concerns about interference in internal affairs by such "kin-states". The task of the High Commissioner in such cases is to assess the existing situation and to promote a dialogue, if necessary, between the affected governments and representatives of the minorities. Mediation may serve the purpose of gradual confidence building and lead to positive effects resulting in mechanisms enhancing stability between the neighbouring states and fostering the protection of minority rights. Therefore, the contribution of the High Commissioner to stabilisation and conflict prevention has both a local and regional dimension.
Secondly, because the resolution of conflicts between states and minorities are usually very time-consuming, the establishment of reliable and stable channels for dialogue is of utmost importance. Disputes frequently arise because of insufficient mechanisms for communication at the national level. Max van der Stoel has underscored, that dialogue, as such, is important to overcome mutual mistrust and to create a better understanding of the concerns of the other side and to promote a climate of participation in the political process. It is important, however, that such a dialogue is pursued on the basis of equality and good faith. The intentional integration of minorities into the political process may contribute to the internal stability of states, while disintegration and under-representation may foster the dismemberment of the society.
A third experience, pointed out by van der Stoel, is related to the wish of some minorities to secede parts of the territory of the state in which they live. The first stage of such claims is directed at gaining territorial autonomy, which minorities often see as a better way to defend their interests and to protect their identity. On the other hand, governments usually react reluctantly to such claims. Following van der Stoel, two considerations should be made concerning this "thorny issue".40) On the one hand, territorial autonomy as a way to resolve minority problems is not ruled out in principle. It is explicitly mentioned as a political option within the OSCE Copenhagen Government, but to go along with this option is subject to agreement between the parties involved. Governments are not committed to establish such areas. On the other hand, because demands for autonomy usually meet resistance from the governments, minorities should consider improvements of state legislation, which would better enable them to influence political matters in those areas that are of special importance for them, such as language issues, culture, and education. As far as secession is considered, support for such demands exercised by other states is fraught with a high probability for conflict. The OSCE lends clear preference to "internal" self-determination,41) which may include elections, mechanisms of dialogue and co-operation, functional autonomy and education. Experiences have taught, that the better self-determination works, the better the persons belonging to national minorities can identify with their home state.
Education is rendered a fourth important element of the High Commissioners work. Van der Stoel initiated a meeting group of distinguished experts in The Hague, which elaborated on The Hague Recommendations regarding the education rights of national minorities. It cannot be overlooked, however, that especially demands for "national education" are often a matter of suspicion on the side of states. As the example of the Albanian University in Tetovo only recently has shown, the implicit support of intellectuals for secession may even contribute to fuel political conflict. The mediation exercised by the High Commissioner remains to be a tightrope walk.
With regard to the use of languages of persons belonging to national minorities, and this is the fifth element, the High Commissioner initiated a process for dialogue leading to the Oslo Recommendations concerned with the linguistic rights of national minorities. These recommendations refer to specific areas in relation to the use of minority languages such as personal names and place names, religious activities, community life, media, economic and social life, public administration and service, and the administration of justice.
Finally, the integration of minorities into a wider society is viewed as being a long-term process. While individual problems may seem minor, the accumulation of a number of so-called minor problems can quickly add up to a bigger problem. Inversely, van der Stoel has pointed out that small scale and focused assistance can have large-scale and long-term results.42)
The basic philosophy of all activities conducted by the High Commissioner lies in the following: first, the protection of minority rights serves not only the interests of the minorities, but the interests of the states and of the majorities as well. Secondly, solutions should be searched for within state boundaries rather than dismembering the states. Thirdly, durable solutions for inter-ethnic conflicts are to be based and dependent on dialogue, equal rights and consent. In sum, the work of the High Commissioner provides a very good example of the possible contribution of the OSCE preventive diplomacy tools in terms of the "best practices" that can be used to foster peaceful transformation, the strengthening of freedom and democracy in the OSCE area.
The Representative on Freedom of the Media
The instrument of a Representative on the freedom of the media was established in 1997, in the aftermath of the violent clashes in Bosnia and the experiences the OSCE had made especially with the oppression of independent media by the then Yugoslav government. The task of the Representative, the German Social Democrat Freimut Duve since 1998, has been to assist governments in the furthering of free, independent and pluralistic media by observing media developments in all participating States and to advocate publicly for full compliance of the governments with OSCE principles and commitments. Also, the Representative serves as a contact point for all complaints regarding the violation of the freedom of the press.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
The idea of providing a strong public legitimacy to the government-led OSCE activities was the main force behind the establishment of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in 1991. Later, on invitation by the Danish Parliament, the Assembly was based in Copenhagen. The principle task of the Parliamentary Assembly is to facilitate and to expand inter-parliamentary dialogue on all matters relevant to the OSCE. Its political impact, however, has remained limited. First of all, the Assembly is not subject to direct elections. The participating States are represented according to the size of the national population. Now, with 55 participating States in the OSCE, 315 representatives, delegated by their countries, have seats in the Assembly. Secondly, the Assembly is lacking institutional power. Although the Standing Committee can make decisions according to the principle of consensus minus one, which gives the Assembly the opportunity to issue statements on controversial issues, it cannot exert influence on the decision-making process by governments. Its practical role is confined to dialogue, missions, visits, election monitoring, public information and public statements to enhance the political legitimacy of decisions adopted by the OSCE states.43)
The Court of Conciliation and Arbitration
The OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration was established on the basis of the Convention on Conciliation and Arbitration within the OSCE that was signed in December 1992. The guiding idea of setting up a specific OSCE Court was to enhance the operational capacity of the Organization and to foster the peaceful settlement of disputes among OSCE participating States. It is worth noting that the Court is an OSCE-related body rather than an OSCE institution, i.e. the convention on which the Court is based binds those participating States that have legally accepted to become parties of it. Therefore, different from the overall rule of the OSCE - to be politically but not legally binding - the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration possesses legal quality based on a full-fledged international treaty. On the other hand, the Court is not a permanent, standing institution, but a roster of conciliators and arbitrators that gather only when a dispute is submitted to it. The strength of legal quality attributed to the Court, however, explains why it has played a very limited political role so far. It has, in fact, not dealt with any single case since the convention went into force. The dilemma of the Court consists in the missing obligation of the parties of a dispute to submit their case to conciliation or, if necessary, to arbitration.
Priorities and Dimensions
When the CSCE was established in 1975 it was given basically three priorities to deal with: the politico-military, economic, and humanitarian baskets. As mentioned before, the function of the CSCE during the Cold War made these baskets a matter of balancing competing interests among the participating States. Although it can be said that at least two of the three founding priorities - the politico-military and the humanitarian dimensions - have remained core issues dealt with by the OSCE until present, its approach has both improved and expanded significantly. Moreover, after the ending of the East-West confrontation, issues can be tackled in-depth, both comprehensively and at the same time independent of each other. Instead of baskets, the OSCE has adopted dimensions that clarify the comprehensive character of its approach to security.
The Politico-Military Dimension of the OSCE
This dimension comprises the Code of Conduct on politico-military aspects of security, measures of confidence- and security building, e.g. arms control and regional issues, and - most recently - civil policing and peacekeeping.
The Code of Conduct on politico-military aspects of security was adopted at the 1994 Budapest summit. The basic idea of the code is to make the participating States adhere to commonly shared rules of behaviour in the sensitive field of security relations. While being based on the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, the Code has also broken new ground by expanding the CSCE norms to so-called internal matters of states, for instance, by including demands on the civil and constitutional control of armed forces in democratic societies. It stipulates explicitly that the use of armed forces to limit the peaceful and lawful exercise of civil rights by persons (as individuals or as representatives of groups), or to deprive them of their national, cultural, linguistic or ethnic identity, is prohibited.44) The Code of Conduct can be used in cases as a political and moral reference by people within OSCE states to press governments for an effective civil control of armed forces activities, and also to provide a leverage to the OSCE to address issues of concern regarding the role of the armed forces within an OSCE state directly to a government, or to bring such issues onto the table of the FSC.
As regards confidence- and security building measures, co-operation among the OSCE states is based on a fully-fledged catalogue of instruments that have become permanently improved since the 1986 Stockholm Conference, where the first CSBM Document was adopted. The principle idea of confidence-building was laid out in the 1975 Final Act, where the participating States agreed to "certain measures" designed "to contribute to reducing the dangers of armed conflict and of misunderstanding or miscalculation of military activities which could give rise to apprehension, particularly in a situation where the participating States lack clear and timely information."45) The Western CSCE states in particular were eager to lift the common Soviet secrecy, as regards force postures, deployments, movements and equipment of the Warsaw Pact armed forces. While the Eastern side proposed flat reductions of equal numbers of personnel and equipment, the West sought first of all clarification about the conventional superiority of the Warsaw Pact and considered transparency and verification a more basic prerequisite for any step towards arms control. Eventually Moscow accepted that approach, but after Helsinki it took another ten years and Michael Gorbachev coming to power until a first agreement on the so-called "second generation" of CSBMs was reached, the 1986 Stockholm Document. Meanwhile, the regime has been substantially improved; the scope of information has broadened and new measures of communication and assessment have been implemented. In November 1999, the FSC adopted the most recent version of the Vienna Document CSBM regime, the Vienna Document 1999. Reiterating principles already agreed upon is the only remarkable innovation of this new document, which consists of the pledge for a stronger role of regional CSBM regimes.
The current regime of OSCE Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) includes, inter alia:46)
An annual exchange of military information (Vienna document regime),
Although only 30 of the 55 OSCE states are signatories to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe - the CFE Treaty - this agreement can be considered the cornerstone for maintaining military stability in the OSCE area. Different to the politically binding character of CSBMs, this treaty poses a legal instrument for arms control. The original negotiations were carried out among the 23 member states of NATO and the Warsaw Pact (Group 23) in order to create a more stable situation along the North-South frontier line of confrontation in Central Europe. It is worth noting here that the CFE Treaty was signed only after the transition of power in Central and Eastern Europe had started, although most details had been hammered out way before. The 1990 CFE Treaty determined equal ceilings for major conventional weapons, the Treaty-Limited Equipment (TLE), for both alliances: 20,000 main battle tanks, 30,000 armoured vehicles, 20,000 artillery pieces, 6,800 fighter aircraft and 2,000 attack helicopters. These group ceilings were translated into national upper holdings for each of the alliances' members. The treaty implemented a so-called "sufficiency rule", according to that, the proportion of armaments of any single country with respect to the group ceiling was limited. Moreover, it determined that surplus weaponry was to be destroyed or given to other allied members within their national upper limits. Finally, the CFE Treaty brought about an innovative intrusive regime of mutual information and verification, including on-site inspections. Not being a part of the treaty, but closely related to it, the CFE-1A Agreement comprises politically binding declarations by the CFE parties on limitations of the numbers of their military personnel, with the exception of naval forces, internal security forces, and forces under UN command.
It may be seen as an irony of history that when the CFE Treaty entered into force in 1992 some of its basic assumptions had already faded away. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved, the Soviet Union had ceased to exist, and former members of the Warsaw Pact strived openly for a membership in NATO, the sooner the better. The CFE parties did not accept renegotiating the treaty but "improving the operation of the Treaty in the changing environment in Europe."47) Thorny issues were to be tackled: the substitution of group ceilings by national holdings, the changing perspectives of the individual states on their respective national security, the re-deployment of troops and military equipment. Later, the opening of NATO to new members put an additional burden onto the negotiation tables. It took three years of difficult negotiations until the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and the Final Act of the Conference of the States Parties, to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was signed at the Istanbul summit in November 1999.48) But there is room for justified concerns about the future of the agreement, which needs ratification. Russia has failed so far in complying with basic regulations set up by the treaty, the most important of which refers to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova and from military bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki, Georgia.
Concluding from the experiences made in the course of the negotiations on adapting the 1990 CFE Treaty, it is obvious that while only some problems originated in the past, the more relevant ones are related to the deterioration in the relationship between Russia and the West, the United States in particular. The enlargement of NATO, the Alliance's military action against Yugoslavia and, most recently, the US announcement about abandoning the ABM Treaty have caused serious irritations in Moscow as regards the future Russian influence on European affairs. Reliable predictions about what can be expected in future are difficult to make. However, as Oberschmidt and Zellner have warned, there is a real danger "that arms control and the OSCE as such are hostages to these future developments."49)
Another arms control treaty under the auspices of the OSCE is the so-called Open Skies Treaty, which establishes a regime of observation flights over the territories of State Parties. It was basically not negotiated under the formal OSCE umbrella, but coincides with the OSCE philosophy of transparency, and the OSCE regime of confidence- and security-building. The treaty was signed in 1992 but later also became subject to delay regarding implementation for the reasons mentioned above. It may be taken as a sign of hope, however, that after Russia and the Ukraine ratified the Open Skies Treaty; it went into force in 2001.
The regional arms control focus of the OSCE has been so far on the Balkans. Regional arms control constitutes an integral part of the Dayton Peace Accords for Bosnia and Herzegovina that were signed in 1995. Annex 1-B of the General Framework Agreement mandated the OSCE to help elaborate and implement three distinct instruments:50)
An agreement on CSBMs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Article II),
The agreements according to Article II and Article IV were concluded in 1996. The first of which provides for a set of measures for confidence- and security-building, including the exchange of military information, the notification of certain military activities, a verified restriction on military deployments and exercises in determined geographic areas, as well as the withdrawal of forces and heavy equipment to designated emplacements. The latter engaged the three parties within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia along the CFE pattern of limiting the overall numbers of major weapons in the five TLE categories of the CFE, i.e. main battle tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces, fighter aircraft and attack helicopters. The agreement also stipulated methods for reduction, instruments for inspection and verification, and established a mechanism for consultation and reviewing. Negotiations on the third agreement started in early 1999 but were impeded by the Kosovo war, which prompted the Yugoslav side to leave the negotiations. Further delay followed on the suspension of Yugoslavia from the OSCE. Its re-admission in December 2000 paved the way for resuming the negotiations that are still underway. The parties were called upon concluding an agreement no later than the Bucharest Ministerial Meeting in late 2001.
Most recently, the OSCE has also taken initiatives in the field of controlling the holdings and diminishing the threat from illicit transfers of small and light weapons. The exploration of this new field of activity relates to the conclusions that most violent conflicts within states are fought with such weapons, and that the illegal transfer of such weapons contributes to the spread of violence. The OSCE has adopted several resolutions on this topic and conducted seminars, and it has also declared that it would offer support to any initiatives taken in handling this issue properly.51)
Because the OSCE is a regional organization under Chapter VIII of the UN-Charter, principally speaking, it is also entitled to conduct peacekeeping operations according to Chapter VI of the UN-Charter. However, so far the organization has not been given the operational capacity to move in this direction. Some experiences in conceptual planning of policing, however, have been gathered already. For instance the OSCE conducted monitoring missions and helped to set up a Police Service School under the UNMIK mission in Kosovo.52) The 2000 Vienna Ministerial Meeting decided on studying the possible establishment of a new post of a policy adviser in the OSCE Secretariat. Since the comparative institutional advantages of the OSCE can be attributed to its roles in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation, it makes sense to consider opportunities for civil policing to support OSCE activities rather than assigning to it stronger military roles. In the long run, however, peacekeeping missions that are conducted in close co-operation with the participating States and other regional organizations should not be ruled out completely.
The Economic Dimension
The economic dimension has traditionally been the Cinderella of the OSCE.53) It was incorporated into the basket construction of the former CSCE because the Eastern participating members hoped for economic and financial assistance to their waning economies. After the implosion of the socialist regimes it was not the CSCE but the European Union, which determined the speed of economic co-operation and reconstruction in Central and Eastern Europe. Also, it is the European Union the transforming states focussed on in their foreign economic policy priorities. The OSCE as such is not an economic organization, however, as part of its comprehensive approach to security, it is concerned with economic and environmental issues, which are considered important for enhancing peace, prosperity and stability in the whole OSCE area.54) Therefore, in November 1997, the Permanent Council established the post of Coordinator of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities within the Secretariat. The scope of activities, however, has remained very limited, mainly because of lack of funds. Apart from a few training programmes, the activity is basically confined to organizing the annual meetings of the OSCE Economic Forum that intends to foster the transition from command economies into free-market economies, and to help states comply with common environmental standards.55)
The Human Dimension
Commitments made by the OSCE States to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, to abide by the rule of law, to promote the principles of democracy and to strengthen and protect democratic institutions, constitute what in the OSCE language is referred to as its human dimension.56) Those commitments are in principle politically binding. The Organization has defined and over time improved a set of standards regarding the human dimension, which applies to all participating States. The 1990 Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension posed a milestone in the improvement of the OSCE standards. The Copenhagen Document stated, inter alia, that the protection and promotion of human rights should be the basic purpose of a government. A number of specific human rights and fundamental freedoms never before formally accepted in the CSCE was determined, such as the right to a peaceful assembly and demonstration, the right to enjoy one's property peacefully and the rights of a child. Moreover, the Copenhagen Document strengthened the idea of protecting rights for minorities and extended the scope of the human dimension to include electoral commitments.57) The OSCE has established various institutions and organizational tools intended to foster the enforcement of standards, like the ODIHR or the HCNM. But as the recent events in Chechnya, in Kosovo and the situation of the Curds in Turkey have demonstrated, this enforcement remains dependent on the willingness of all states and governments to act in good faith and to comply to given commitments. It may be less a matter of the OSCE approach that has become broadened too much, i.e. yielding into a loss of focus,58) but more a result of the fact that politically binding principles become neglected by governments when their vital interests are subjected to change, that the record of the human dimensions varies from case to case. In most cases of concern flagrant violations of human rights, for instance in the so-called "frozen conflicts", result from either power struggles or from perceived threats to the existing power. On the other hand, hidden violations of OSCE standards can also be observed in full-fledged democracies, especially as regards the dealing with persons belonging to other nationalities.
One possible way to overcome this dilemma lies in a closer interaction of states and organizations at all levels of co-operation in order to eliminate different standards and methods of dealing with human rights.59) Double standards may contribute to different speeds in implementing the highest possible standards of human rights. Another way, more difficult to follow however, is described by efforts to turn political bindings into legal ones, in order to strengthen commitments of states to abide to the rule of law both internally and externally. . Close co-operation between the OSCE and the European Council is recommended. The Council, with the European Convention on Human Rights, has adopted a very effective instrument in promoting human rights throughout Europe.
Financing of the OSCE
The OSCE has been a lean organization from the very start. Less than 300 people work in the various OSCE institutions, about 180 of them in the Secretariat. With respect to the widened scope of its activities and the prominent role it has been attributed to in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation, the OSCE has begun to seriously suffer from lack of funds. Although the budget has almost been doubled since 1994, the total amount of the regular budget equates, for example, only 1/8,000 to what the members of NATO spend on their military alliance.
The regular OSCE budget (institutional activities) is financed by contributions made by the participating States, according to a scale of distribution. (Cf. Chart 3) The largest contributors to the regular budget, with nine per cent each, are France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States. Andorra, the Holy See, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco and San Marino spend a minimum contribution of 0.125 per cent of the annual budget.
The regular budget has increased from 1994 as follows:60)
Scale of Distribution for the Regular OSCE Budget
Status as of 30 June 2000
OSCE Handbook, Annex V
The greater part of OSCE funds, however, goes towards missions and field activities. Some 1,100 international and 3,300 local staff work for the OSCE in the field. The staffing of field operations is based on secondments, where the responsibility for the salaries of personnel remains that of the seconding national administrations. The more is paid by a national government, the more it has influence on selecting and appointing responsible personnel. (Cf. Chart 4) This principle has frequently become a matter of dispute, because in some cases, such as that of the 1998/1999 Kosovo Verification Mission, led by the American William Walker, the seconding governments have been criticised for pursuing national interests rather than acting as a neutral intermediary. The operational budget of the OSCE has substantially grown, mainly because field activities have been expanded. The operational budget has increased from 7.9 million Euros in 1994 to 181 million Euros in 2000, the bulk of which is spent on large OSCE missions and projects.61) Notwithstanding this increase, however, the OSCE has remained a cost-saving endeavour, especially when its successes in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation are compared with the suffering and costs caused by violence and war.
Scale for Large OSCE Missions and Projects
Status as of 30 June 2000
OSCE Handbook, Annex VI
Missions - the core of OSCE Activities
Field missions pose the "frontline"62) and the "backbone"63) of the OSCE. With their missions, the OSCE can actively help where assistance is most needed. Missions function as an instrument to support the translation of principles into reality. Missions cover the whole range of conflict prevention and the resolution of conflict, beginning from early warning and including measures of preventive diplomacy, conflict management, conflict settlement and post-conflict rehabilitation. All missions start with a mandate, usually provided for by the Permanent Council, with the agreement of the host country. The scope of missions varies from case to case. While in some cases the mission staffs consist of a handful people, in other cases several hundreds of persons are involved. The OSCE has or has had missions or other field activities in Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Kosovo), Latvia, Moldova, Russia (Chechnya), Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Form this list, it can be learned that the focus of OSCE mission activities is set clearly on Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. While the exclusion of regional issues concerning, for example dealing with minorities in Western countries, has frequently been a matter of dispute among the participating States, none of the cases mentioned above could be traded for others. Each of those missions is or has been justified according to the vital OSCE rules and principles, and to the serious problems that need to be tackled.
To give a more detailed impression on how missions are established by the OSCE, three examples of the different types of missions will be described in depth: the OSCE Missions to Latvia, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, and the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya.
The OSCE Mission to Latvia
When Latvia regained its independence, after having been a part of the Soviet Union since it was annexed in 1940, it was confronted with the task of establishing national legislation from scratch. The newly independent state faced an intrusive Russian legacy, including a high percentage of native Russians that had been living in Latvia for decades. While Latvians feared lasting Russian pre-dominance, as well as pressure from its neighbouring state Russia, the formerly privileged Russians in Latvia had suddenly become a national minority. Tensions emerged that broke out in violence in the beginning of 1990s. The Latvian government tried to consolidate national control, e.g. by proposing legislation on citizenship that apparently discriminated against Russians living in Latvia.
The OSCE mission to Latvia became operational in November 1993. Its mandate is to address and give advice on citizenship issues and related matters, to provide information and advice to institutions, organizations and individuals who have interest in a dialogue on these issues, to gather information, and to report on developments relevant to the implementation of OSCE principles, norms and commitments.64) The mandate has been renewed every sixth months.
The Mission established permanent channels for communication with (and between) the Latvian Government and representatives of the minorities living in Latvia. It provided support and advice on the drafting of specific, relevant legislation for an integrated society, including in particular issues on citizenship, language, education, and employment. Moreover, it helped to establish a Latvian-Russian Joint Commission on Military Pensioners, which it also chairs. The Commission handles problems of retired Russian personnel in Latvia. Most Russian forces were withdrawn in 1994. It also offered intermediary assistance, providing a representative to the Joint Committee on the Skrunda Radar Station, which was operated by Russia under a bilateral agreement with the Latvian Government until August 1998. With the completion of the Russian withdrawal, this part of the Mission came to a successful closure.
Regarding the citizenship issue, the Mission launched what was termed a "Case Work Programme". Through this programme, it offered beneficial services to those seeking advice, mainly in the field of the naturalization and issuing of so-called no-citizen passports. Moreover, the Mission has continued its successful Road Trip Programmes. Through this programme, once a month Mission members travel to another region of the country. There they arrange meetings with representatives of the government, non-governmental organizations, and the press.65) It should be added that Mission activities have closely been co-ordinated with those of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, who has actively supported a solution for the citizenship problem.
The OSCE has greatly contributed to the fundamental revision of Latvian legislation. This is especially manifested in amendments to the Latvian Citizenship Law that were adopted by the Latvian Saeima in June 1998. The amendments aimed to facilitate the acquirement of citizenship for those people in Latvia who are not of Latvian ethnic origin. Moreover, the active role that the OSCE has played in mediating inter-ethnic disputes in Latvia has not only contributed to a gradual stabilization of the situation within the country, but has also helped to normalize relations between the neighbouring states of Russia and Latvia.
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo
The province of Kosovo is part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). More than 90 per cent of its population are ethnic Albanians. The conflict aggravated when, in 1989, Serbian authorities removed the autonomy of the province, which had been granted under the rule of Josip Broz Tito. The conflict escalated into violence after 1997. Paramilitary formations, which stood for putting an end to discrimination and the restoration of autonomy, began to fight against Serbian oppression and for Kosovo's independence from Serbia and the FRY. The Serbian authorities reacted brutally to the militant actions that were undertaken by the UCK, prompting thousands of people to flee their homes. Hundreds of innocent people were killed on both sides before the international community took the first steps to externally interfere in the situation.
The first Kosovo Mission, under the auspices of the then CSCE, lasted from September 1992 until June 1993. It was a part of the three-layered Mission that was established for the largest areas of minority settlements in the FRY: Vojvodina (mainly Hungarians), Kosovo (mainly Albanians) and Sandjak (mainly Bosnian Muslims). The Mission's mandate aimed at promoting dialogue between the public authorities and representatives of the population and communities, collecting information on violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, promoting solutions and establishing contact points for such problems, and providing assistance in obtaining information on relevant legislation in the fields of human rights, protection of minorities, freedom of the media, and democratic elections. With respect to these tasks, the first Kosovo Mission can be considered an undertaking that was fully in compliance with the then CSCE strategy of conflict-prevention by strengthening democracy and protecting human rights of individuals and groups. The mandate neither stated the aim of restoring autonomy for Kosovo, nor was the Mission's task to formally negotiate these issues with the parties involved. Belgrade's involvement in the conflict over Bosnia brought the Mission to an end, as Yugoslav authorities coupled the further extension of the mandate with the demand for re-admission of Yugoslavia into the CSCE, from which it was suspended in Summer 1992.
The second Kosovo Mission the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) was initiated after Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and the Yugoslav President Slobodan Miloseviæ had hammered out a special agreement in October 1998 on the deployment of an OSCE verification team, amounting to 2,000 unarmed persons in Kosovo. Their task was largely confined to observing the parties behaviour, and to reporting to the OSCE. No active role of conflict resolution was attributed to the Mission. Although the OSCE faced tremendous difficulties in staffing the KVM after three months only 2/3 of the envisaged numbers were in place - the KVM's presence contributed to a decrease in bloodshed in the regions. In regions where it was not present, violence and banishment continued. In early 1999, the situation rapidly deteriorated. NATO in particular pressed for a radical political resolution to the awaiting disaster. After peace negotiations failed, the KVM group left Kosovo on 20 March 1999. A few days later, NATO launched its first air strikes against the FRY.
The third OSCE Mission originated from the UN-SEC Resolution no. 1244 of 10 June 1999, which empowered the UN Secretary-General to set up a "civil presence" that aimed at providing an interim administration for Kosovo, with the assistance of relevant international organizations. In the UN Secretary-General's report of 12 June 1999, the OSCE was mentioned as one of those organizations.66) On 1 July 1999, the Permanent Council decided on a mandate, describing responsibilities of the Mission as follows:67)
resource capacity-building, including the training of a new Kosovo police service
in a police school that would be established and operated by the Mission, training
of judicial personnel and civil administrators at various levels in co-operation
with the Council of Europe;
On 16 March 2000, the Permanent Council adopted a Regional Strategy for South Eastern Europe. The aim is to co-ordinate OSCE activities with those of other international organizations, in particular the European Union, and in South Eastern Europe including those conducted in Kosovo under the auspices of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.68)
With 700 international and 1,400 local staff, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo is currently the largest OSCE field presence.69) For the first time, an OSCE Mission became an integral part of a multi-institutional operation led by the United Nations. The Mission operates in close co-operation with UN bodies represented in Kosovo, including the Kosovo Stabilization Force (KFOR), the European Union, and the Council of Europe. The Missions primary task is to assist the population in Kosovo in recreating self-government, and in contributing to peace- and democracy-building. However, the Mission's ultimate success will depend on the political willingness of all parties in Kosovo to reconcile themselves, and on finding a viable political solution for the future status of Kosovo.
When all three OSCE Missions to Kosovo are compared with each other, the first one was devoted to conflict prevention and conflict resolution, the second one solely to conflict resolution, and the present one to post-war rehabilitation, including measures of conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
The OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya
Similar to the roots of the conflict in Kosovo, the nature of the conflict in Chechnya can also be described as a cluster of inter-ethnic, political and socio-economic problems. Chechnya's drive for secession from the Russian Federation was laid in the beginning of the 1990s, when the former Soviet Union dissolved and former Soviet Republics gained independence. The conflict aggravated when Russia started a military campaign to "restore the constitutional order" in the Chechen Republic.70) The war over Chechnya cost the lives of tens of thousands of people, both Russians and Chechens, and resulted in vast numbers of refugees and displaced persons. In contrast to Kosovo, however, it was Russia the regional superpower, and the most important partner for regional stability in Central and Eastern Europe which was one of the parties involved. For a long time, Moscow refused to allow any action by international organizations in what it considered to be an “internal matter? Only when the Russian offensive ran into an apparent deadlock did Russia feel more inclined to accept a role for international mediation. It did not, however, allow a regular OSCE Mission to be placed in Chechnya.
The OSCE Assistance Group (AG) to Chechnya (Russian Federation) was established according to the Permanent Council's decision of 11 April 1995. The AG's task was to perform two functions, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation. The mandate pinpointed six areas as activities of the Assistance Group:71)
promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and establish facts concerning
their violation; to help foster the development of democratic institutions and processes,
including the restoration of the local organs of authority; to assist in the preparation
of possible new constitutional agreements, and in the holding and monitoring of
Activities of the Assistance Group
To achieve the goals of the mandate, the Group, which became operational by April 1995, established direct relations with all parties, and advanced mediation proposals. Negotiations under OSCE auspices yielded in an Agreement on Military Issues that was signed in late July 1995, calling for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops. However, the implementation of the agreement was soon obscured by ongoing hostilities, and the AG found itself to be hostage in the capital of Grozny. In spite of this, the Group remained in Grozny. Later, after the battles for Grozny in August 1996 had come to end, it was able to provide assistance in mediation, as well as in the preparation of the presidential and parliamentary elections that were held in Chechnya in January 1997.
Another backlash for the Group's activity resulted from the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West. This occurred due to the course of events in Kosovo and the recurrence of fighting in Chechnya. The AG was withdrawn from Grozny and took temporary office in Moscow. Although the 1999 Istanbul Summit recommended a hasty return of the Group to Grozny, the Russian Government did not show much interest in facilitating the re-location of the Group. Critics argue that Moscow may have feared that it would again be blamed for human rights violations that had been committed by the Russian armed forces in Chechnya. Even more importantly, Russia was ready to accept a role for the OSCE only on the condition that it could determine the political terms.72) Eventually however, Moscow accepted the terms of the given mandate, and the Assistance Group returned to Grozny in Summer 2001.
The scope of mission activities conducted by, or under the auspices of, the OSCE has expanded to encompass the entire area of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation. This provides a great deal of operational influence and flexibility for the instruments, which the OSCE has at its disposal. The practical experience that the OSCE has gathered over time strongly supports arguments advocating the closest possible co-operation and co-ordination of activities with other international organizations and non-governmental organizations. This would minimize duplication and allow the OSCE to make use of existing operational and instrumental synergies. It can also be considered a part of OSCE best practices that mission activities do not only focus on "upper levels" of contact between the opponents in a conflict, but also on the local level in order to promote peace-building from scratch. The OSCE has achieved the best results when a consensus amongst all parties has existed. However, the OSCE has always faced difficulties and backlashes when conflicts have either already turned into armed clashes, or when parties have not been interested in ending their fighting. In such cases, either measures of peace-enforcement have to precede OSCE involvement, or measures of (robust) peacekeeping have to accompany post-conflict activities that are conducted by the OSCE.
During the Helsinki Process of the 1970s and 1980s, which was hardly more than a frequent conference mechanism, the then CSCE maintained limited relations to other international organizations and external partners. This has changed with the transformation of the CSCE into an "acting organization" in the field. At the Ministerial Meeting of Lisbon in December 1996, the participating States made a clear pledge for closer inter-action with other institutions, both governmental and non-governmental. It was stated "that European security requires the widest co-operation and co-ordination among participating States and European and transatlantic organizations. The OSCE is the inclusive and comprehensive organization for consultation, decision-making in its region and a regional arrangement under chapter VIII of the United Nations charter. As such it is particularly well suited as a forum to enhance co-operation and complementarities among such organizations and institutions. The OSCE will act in partnership with them, in order to respond effectively to threats and challenges in its area."73)
No single organization can handle all threats, tensions and conflicts. This has been recognized in the so-called "Platform concept", which is annexed in the OSCE Charter for European Security.74) According to the Platform, the OSCE has developed close relations to all international organizations that are relevant to Europe, including the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and NATO. As a regional arrangement, in the sense of Chapter VIII of the UN-Charter, the OSCE established a Framework for Co-operation and Co-ordination with the UN Secretariat. The OSCE Secretary General also annually reports to the United Nations General Assembly. In field operations, the OSCE closely co-operates with acting bodies of the UN, such as the High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) and Human Rights (UNHCHR), the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe that was initiated by the EU marks the most important intersection for co-operation with the European Union. This was later transferred to the auspices of the OSCE. Since 1998, relations to other international agencies and bodies have improved as well. Such agencies include the OECD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the European Commission. The OSCE has also established links with sub-regional intergovernmental groupings, such as the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the Central European Initiative (CEI), the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Council (BSEC), the EU Royaumont Process, and the Southeast European Co-operative Initiative (SECI).75)
Co-operation with non-governmental organizations is considered significant, especially with regard to all OSCE field activities. NGOs are not only an important source of information on developments in states in crisis; they are also major partners in furthering the OSCE's goal of creating and strengthening civil societies in democratic states. In various cases, NGOs act under the auspices of, or directly assisted by, the OSCE. The Warsaw-based ODIHR strongly relies on reports that are provided by NGOs when preparing activities for, or in, transforming societies.
Apart from co-operation with international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the OSCE has also opened up to dialogue with partners in other regions. The CSCE states' interests regarding the Southern periphery of Europe, especially the Mediterranean, were already included in the 1975 Final Act of Helsinki. After a number of special consultative meetings that were held during the Helsinki Process, inter-regional co-operation improved. This resulted from the decision of the participating States in 1994 and 1995 to invite six states from the Mediterranean as Partners for Co-operation (MPCs). A Contact Group between the OSCE and the six MPCs (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) meets annually, and since 1995, operational co-operation has expanded in several fields.
Additionally, the OSCE has developed its co-operation with Asian countries, including Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Formal relations with Japan were adopted in 1993, and those with the ROK one year later. Japan has improved its partner status and has e.g. seconded personnel and made contributions to several OSCE Missions. The Republic of Korea has been granted an observer status and has also participated in OSCE field operations. The government of the ROK has stated that its special relationship with the OSCE offers "a model for the promotion of security and stability in the Korean peninsula".76)
Before looking at this assumption in detail, the following paragraphs will evaluate the successes and failures of the OSCE.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the OSCE
The OSCE is a unique organization, and the list of its successes has become long. Its strengths can be summarized as follows:77)
OSCE constitutes a very large geographic framework, including 55 European and North
American states, more than ¼ of all UN member states. This geographic framework
covers the entire Northern hemisphere from Vladivostok to Vancouver, from the North
Cape to the island of Malta and the Caucasian mountains. All 55 states have equal
rights to speak and decide. No nation has the right to veto.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned strengths and a record of success that can hardly be disputed, the OSCE also has certain limitations, though some of them may not necessarily turn into weakness of the organization;
OSCE has, apart from a few exceptions, a legally non-binding character. From this
it can be concluded that neither the principles and norms, nor the political resolutions
that have been adopted by the representatives of participating States, can be enforced
by legal machinery. If governments fail to comply with their commitments to the
OSCE, these commitments cannot be legally enforced in order to change their attitude.
In the case of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the OSCE decided on suspending
the right of Yugoslavia to participate in the OSCE. This measure of course cuts
both ways. If rights are suspended, the affected government may feel even less inclined
to adhere to the agreed upon norms and principles. Also, those people whose rights
are violated have less opportunity to call upon to the OSCE to address the policy
of their government. Moreover, the OSCE may lose leverage to exert direct influence
on the policy of the particular government.
Ironically, the positive record of the former CSCE during the Cold War can largely be characterised as the current weaknesses of the OSCE. One can even argue that the CSCE was so successful, surviving fifteen years of Cold War, only because it lacked institutional power:
deficiency in legally binding commitments made the adversaries more susceptible
to agree on common principles and political standards, which could not be enforced.
- The CSCE was not a system of collective security. It did not have a military function and the participating States were given "free choice" in their own military arrangements.
- The CSCE, by making a strong case for sovereignty and non-interference, diminished concerns of some states of becoming absorbed by others. This argument naturally applied to the case of East Germany in particular.
- The governmental character of the CSCE lowered the risk, for some governments, to have to deal with decision-making against their will, especially when intra-state issues were concerned.
- Weak parliamentarian legitimacy contributed to the separation of discussion on human rights, minority issues and democracy at both the state-to-state level and the intra-state level.
- Low public awareness shielded communication channels against interfering domestic political struggles.
The OSCE Today a Plea for Turning Weaknesses into Strengths
The sudden collapse of Communism and the implosion of the Soviet Empire have dramatically transformed the post-war security order in Europe. With the end of the Cold War, the major tasks of the OSCE have ceased to be the resolution of political hostilities between states, the destruction of ideological barriers, and the de-escalation of military confrontation between military blocs. While assuming that wars between states have become far less likely, the primary interest of the participating States has shifted from inter-state military stability, arms control and systemic change to political stability, civilian control of armed forces and socio-economic prosperity. Is this to say that the OSCE has become obsolete?
Firstly, the aforementioned strengths still make a strong case for the continued existence of an organization like the OSCE.
Secondly, the political norms and principles accepted, and widely shared by all participating States, provide a normative framework for a durable peaceful order in Europe that reaches far beyond the goals of an underpinning security order.
Thirdly, the strong reference to multi-level co-operation, democracy building, safeguarding of human and minority rights, as well as to a common European socio-cultural identity rather describes aims and requirements of an ongoing process than those of an already existing reality in Europe. No other organization in Europe has become comparably experienced in tackling such issues with more success.
Fourthly, the principles and norms, such as the Code of Conduct, as well as other proven mechanisms, may also apply to other parts of the world. If one lesson can be applied, it is that of regional organization with its restricted scope and the prevalent cultural affinity among the participating States. This may provide better practical opportunities for co-operation, especially when compared with the UN system.
However, if what were formerly deemed to be positive effects of institutional weakness have now turned into a hindrance for institutional efficiency, the participating States are hardly ready to further allocate necessary funds and resources to such an organization. When the first Balkan crisis occurred, the OSCE quickly became blamed for being "toothless" and for "failing". Simultaneously, first signs of "imperial restoration" in Russia led many Eastern Europeans to redirect their aspirations away from a collective security order, under the auspices of the OSCE, towards a collective defence order, based on the Western Alliance. This redirection was paralleled by the efforts of NATO members to adjust the Alliance to new challenges, rather than to solely rely on a Pan-European collective organization. For most Western States the OSCE was and has remained primarily a tool for making political changes in those nations, which are more likely not to enjoy fully-fledged Western-type liberal democracy. For example, while about a dozen of missions on minority issues have been launched by the OSCE in Central and Eastern Europe, none has started with regard to the situation of the Kurds, the Irish or the Basques. If such a one-sided approach to the operational role of the OSCE continues, one might expect not only that some Eastern participating States may become fed up by "being taught" democracy, but also that enlargement of "Western institutions" will gradually marginalize the role of the OSCE. Eventually, the OSCEs remaining residual function may be to create a formal link between Russia and some Caucasian states on the one side, and integrated Western and Central Europe on the other side. In this case, the chance of establishing a common European identity under the auspices of the OSCE would fade away, weakening the unifying impact of its norms and principles.
Because of its comprehensive approach, the future legitimacy of the OSCE will mostly depend on its contribution to intra-state conflict-prevention and resolution, and also on successful political and societal transformation in the reforming countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It will depend on whether the OSCE addresses minority issues across the whole of Europe. To develop a "collective security identity" without transforming itself into a collective security system, a gradual alignment of the deep social differences is necessary. Also, political and economic integration of all participating States of the OSCE, including Russia, must be improved. It is a lesson learned from the success of the European Union that a stable peaceful order will only emerge if stable democracies, the rule of law, functioning market economies, and a higher level of mutually beneficial interdependence are everywhere in place. By applying its comprehensive approach, the OSCE can accurately assist the societies of the participating States in this endeavour. However, it still has along way to go.
One can note two reasons why the OSCE will not transform into a collective security system. Firstly, most participating States feel that such a system would lack credibility. Secondly, the most important positive impact of the OSCE on European security and stability in the years to come is less bound to military stability than to the diminishing risks that could eventually lead to the outbreak of military hostilities between, and with greater likelihood within, states. By dealing with the causes of conflict rather than with military conflict settlement, the OSCE - interlocked with an expanding European Union, and NATO - could contribute to reducing requirements for military defence precautions. During the Cold War, the OSCE was mainly considered a tool for governments to provide as much stability as required to avoid open confrontation, as well as to promote ideas of justice and human rights. At present, the probability of war between European states has become less likely. Ironically, though arms control issues have been on the organizations agenda from the outset, it was only after the Soviet Empire had imploded that the first operational arms control treaty, the CFE-Treaty, was signed in 1990. After the Cold War however, the interest of the participating States to further negotiate arms control agreements decreased substantially. What the states did was to reduce their forces and military equipment in accordance to the diminished East-West military threat. They also restructured arsenals to match what they perceived to be the new challenges to security. The willingness to make individual, immediate concerns the subject of serious follow-up negotiations, within the framework of the Group of 55 participating States of the OSCE, cooled off, not least in the course of NATO enlargement. As happened before the end of the Cold War, it may be the case in future as well that confidence- and security-building measures, as agreed upon under the auspices of the CSCE in the 1980s, may soon again outweigh the operational role of negotiated arms control as well as disarmament.78) As for arms control, unilateral and gradual proactive and reactive steps undertaken by the participating States may prove more likely than negotiated treaties.
The most prominent role the OSCE is bound to play, however, will remain in the field of projecting "soft power". The OSCEs normative approach continues to provide proper guidelines for all state as well as non-state actors. While governments remain the actors who negotiate and take major decisions, the legitimacy of OSCE field operations ("missions") have extended to what were formerly called "internal matters" of states. Indeed, the OSCE has been successful in its various missions, even though public awareness of these successes has been much lower than of alleged failures. For example, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the former Dutch Foreign Minister Max van der Stoel, and the OSCE long-term field missions in the Baltic states, Georgia, and Slovakia have made tremendous contributions to the de-escalation of tensions within these states. They have also strengthened the relations with neighbouring states. As a matter of fact, those who have usually blamed the OSCE for its failures and deficiencies are representatives of the participating States themselves. A non-supranational organization like the OSCE cannot do more about a conflict than its most powerful members want it to do. This is why the future role of the OSCE will mostly depend on the support of its leading states, namely the United States, Russia and the EU members.
It may be a serious threat to the OSCE, even to its sheer existence, if perceptions of institutional inefficiency, inadequate enforcement capacity, and insufficient resources become more serious problems for the participating States. An ongoing institutional rivalry between NATO, the European Council, the European Union and the OSCE would hit the institutionally weakest organization of the "Big Four" the hardest. The OSCE is neither a "second choice", nor is it a substitute for other institutions, but complements them with original mechanisms and approaches. Contrary to much public opinion, the OSCE is not less important than the other three organizations.
The OSCE should be in a position to act according to the principle of "OSCE first", which was originally articulated by the former Dutch and German Foreign Ministers Koojimans and Kinkel in May 1994. The idea of this principle was to assign the OSCE a more all-encompassing role in intra-state and cross-national conflict prevention and de-escalation. It would require a strengthened proactive capacity to ensure early warning and early conflict management by the OSCE. This would be dependent on clear-cut mandates, properly qualified mission members, appropriate equipment and funding, and the creation of public feedback in order to make people more aware of the positive role, which the OSCE can continue to play in Europe.
It can be concluded that the OSCE will not become obsolete if its functions and roles are permanently adjusted to new challenges and risks, if the participating States support proactive missions of conflict prevention undertaken by the OSCE, if they provide necessary funding and resources, if the legitimacy of the organization becomes strengthened by closer links between political decision-making and local constituencies, and if positive public awareness exists. The OSCE is irreplaceable because of its unique features, especially its comprehensiveness and flexibility. However, it stands at the crossroads either to become marginalized, or second to none in the field of proactive conflict-prevention.
The OSCE - a Model for other Regions?
The Case of East Asia
Much has been said and written about why it would not make sense to directly apply Europe's experiences on East Asia: the existence of bilateral disputes on territorial matters; Russia's and mainland China's absorption in domestic politics; the possibility of nuclear blackmail; heterogeneous political, economic, social and cultural structures; asymmetric and asynchronous power balances; greater distances (land or sea) that are to be bridged between the centres of strategic decision-making; lacking neutral intermediaries; and the sharp asymmetries of economic performance. However, some of the conditions that led to initial rapprochement in Europe can also be detected in East Asia: high levels of military confrontation and mistrust between the regional players; competing vested governmental interests; a gradual shift in the distribution of regional power projection; growing interest in stable patterns of co-operation being a prerequisite for increasing economic prosperity and for diminishing the likelihood of war; and a habit of loose dialogue, especially within the framework of the Asian Regional Forum (ARF), on a broad range of issues that might serve as a basis of generic security networking. The ARF appears to be more comparable to the OSCE than e.g. the ASEAN, which has a much stronger focus on economic co-operation, and has always ruled out commitments in the realm of military security. However, close co-operation between ASEAN- and APEC members with the ARF may provide a supportive economic dimension of co-operation to the ARF. Such a scenario did not take place in the years of the CSCE. The missing link between multi-lateral economic and political interests, and lacking regional security structures, has made politicians and experts frequently feel that an OSCE-like Organization, OSCA,79) could lead to a more stable environment in East Asia. Yet the analogy in itself may lead to wrong conclusions, because it is not the OSCE that can be implemented in East Asia. It is more likely that the principles and norms underlying the OSCE may be applicable to East Asia, while the mechanisms and instruments must be generated according to the striking challenges in the area. These greatly differ to the situation that prevailed in Europe before the CSCE was born. Taiwan, Spratley, nuclear proliferation, conventional arms transfers, North Korea, piracy, smuggling, and banditry illustrate catchwords of some of the most difficult problems those are to be dealt with. Other issues can be added to the list. Each requires a made-to-measure approach. An enlarged audience should deal some with; others may require bilateral negotiations or mediation based on good service. The ARF may serve as an umbrella organization, as the CSCE did in the beginning of East-West co-operation in the 1970s and 1980s. However, it is not likely to transform into a Jack-of-all-trades, a role that the CSCE only adopted late, after fifteen years of incremental steps and several backlashes. East Asia may therefore draw lessons of its own. The benefits may apply to other regions, including Europe.
The OSCE has formed some type of a general roof for various, though inter-linked, tables and baskets for consultation and co-operation between the East and the West in a greater Europe. Over time, these have created their own momentum. Conversely, regional co-operation in East Asia is based more on bilateral and intra-regional "clusters" to deal with issues of specific interest to the participating States. Whether or not these clusters will eventually transform into a general multilateral framework is an open question. However, some experiences of the OSCE may be applicable to East Asia. As far as rather general lessons are concerned, the following issues are of relevance:
and permanent channels for consultation have not only contributed to improving mutual
accountability of intentions on both sides, but have also served to clarify conceivable
disputes and incidents at an early stage. Unintended risks of escalation can thus
The "cluster-approach", and the strong role of bilateral relations in East Asia, may suffice as conditions on which these general European lessons, if any, can be applied to the region, without making progress dependent on the existence of a formalized multilateral (sub-) regional framework. It may be more acceptable to create permanent (sub-) regional "thematic tables" of interested states, under the auspices, or assisted by, the ARF. Flexible combinations of these "tables" on an ad-hoc basis may facilitate practical solutions, if necessary or wished for.
The most important premise for regional security networking is the political will of all interested states to make use of the benefits of peaceful co-operation instead of playing selfish zero-sum games at the cost of security of other parties. The more perceptions diverge amongst partners, the more necessary it becomes to carefully examine the impact of individual steps. This applies not only to the situation of the parties involved, but also to the relations with neighbouring states. If a broad pattern of co-operation, against which political and military security- and confidence-building measures can be measured, is missing, accompanying steps to improve relations in other areas - the economy, humanitarian issues, etc. - should be considered from the very beginning. Military CSBMs could start from a modest perspective of developing and enhancing better communication and transparency, and diminishing the likelihood of unintended wars. In any case, they should not be neglected already at an early stage, especially if concerns about military security are widespread, as is currently the case East Asia.
The OSCE certainly cannot (and should not) be directly copied for East Asia. Several practical experiences could be analysedlysed and adapted to the Asian context, if this is useful. Multi-lateral security- and confidence-building should rather be understood as a generic process that may require a great deal of successive, innovative and, at the same time, flexible approaches. The OSCE's story shows that it is worth the effort, no more nor less. Incidentally, this may be the most important lesson to be taught to others.
1) Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (ed.), OSCE Handbook, Vienna, OSCE (2000), p. 7.
2) The Soviet Union accepted the participation of the United States and Canada. The Quadripartite Agreement reconfirmed the legal status of Berlin in 1971, an agreement was reached on beginning negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Forces Reductions (MBFR) in 1973, and bilateral treaties were concluded between West Germany, the Soviet Union, Poland and East Germany. Moreover, the first steps of strategic arms control between the United States and the Soviet Union were made in 1972.
3) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 10.
4) Ibid, p. 11.
6) Wilfried von Bredow, The OSCE: Construction and Identity Problems, Institute for Peace Research and Security Politics at the University of Hamburg (ed.), OSCE-Yearbook 2000, Baden-Baden: NOMOS (2000) (forthcoming).
7) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 12.
8) Cited in: Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (ed.), OSCE-Yearbook 1995/1996, Baden-Baden: NOMOS (1997), p. 15.
9) Charter of Paris for a new Europe, Paris, 21 November 1990, in: Arie Bloed (ed.), The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. Analysis and Basic Documents, 1972-1973, Dordrecht-Boston-London (1993), pp. 537-566.
10) Ibid, p. 537
11) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 13.
12) Piotr Switalski, The OSCE Chairmanship: Development of an Institution, in: OSCE-Yearbook 1995/1996, op. cit. p. 338.
13) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 16.
14) Charter for European Security, Istanbul, November 1999, at: http://www.osce.org/docs/english/1990-1999/summits/istachart99e.htm.
15) Istanbul Summit Declaration of 19 November 1999, at: http://www.osce.org/docs/english/1990-1999/summits/istadec199e.htm.
16) Randolf Oberschmidt/Wolfgang Zellner, OSCE at the Crossroads, Centre for OSCE Research, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Working Paper 2 (2000), p. 3.
17) Statement by the Chairperson-in-Office, MC (8). JOUR/2, 28 November 2000, Annex 2, in: http://www.osece.org/docs/english/1990-1999/mcs/8vienna00e.htm
18) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 23.
19) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 27.
20) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., pp. 27-28.
21) Ibid, p. 117.
23) Piotr Switalski, op. cit., p. 339.
24) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 31.
25) Ibid, p. 105.
26) Ibid, p. 107.
27) Ibid, p. 109.
29) Ibid. p. 111.
30) Paulina Merino, The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, in: OSCE Yearbook (1998), pp. 383-391, here: p. 383.
31) Ibid, p. 391.
32) Cf. Randolf Oberschmidt/Wolfgang Zellner, OSCE at the Crossroads, op. cit. p. 15.
34) OSCE Handbook, p. 93.
35) Max van der Stoel, Reflections on the Role of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities as an Instrument of Conflict Prevention, in: Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg/IFSH (ed.), OSCE Yearbook (1999), pp. 381-391, here: p. 381.
36) Ibid, p. 382. See also: OSCE Handbook, op. cit.
37) The Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekéus will replace Max van der Stoel.
38) OSCE Handbook, op. cit. p. 34.
39) Max van der Stoel, op. cit., pp. 384-390.
40) Ibid, p. 384.
41) Ibid, p. 386.,
42) Ibid, p. 389.
43) OSCE Handbook, op. cit. pp. 139-147.
44) Ibid, p. 124.
45) Ibid, p. 121.
46) Ibid, p. 120.
47) Ibid, p. 130.
48) CFE.DOC/1/99, http://www.osce.org/docs/english/1990-1999/cfe/cfeagree.pdf; CFE.DOC/2/99, http://www.osce.org/docs/English/1990-1999/cfe/cfefinact99e.pdf.
49) Randolf Oberschmidt/Wolfgang Zellner, op. cit., p. 17.
50) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 124.
51) Cf. Hans J. Giessmann, Small Arms: a field of action for the OSCE, in: Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg/IFSH, OSCE Yearbook (2000), pp. 345-357 (forthcoming).
52) OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Fact sheet: Kosovo Police Service School, at: http//www.osce.org/kosovo/police/pdf/kps_factsheet-eng. PDF
53) Randolf Oberschmidt/Wolfgang Zellner, op. cit., p. 18.
54) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 133.
55) Cf. OSCE Handbook, op. cit., pp. 133-138.
56) Ibid. p. 101.
57) Ibid, p. 104.
58) Cf. Randolf Oberschmidt/Wolfgang Zellner, op. cit., p. 15.
59) Cf. Gret Haller, Human rights Protection in the Field of Action of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, in: OSCE Yearbook (1998), pp. 271-288. here: p. 280.
60) In million Euros. OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 34.
62) Ibid., p. 45.
63) Randolf Oberschmidt/Wolfgang Zellner, op. cit., p. 19.
64) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 76.
65) Undine Bollow, The OSCE Missions to Estonia and Latvia, in: OSCE Yearbook (1999), pp. 169-178, here: pp. 174/175.
66) Hansjoeg Eiff, The OSCE Mission in Kosovo, in: OSCE Yearbook (1999), pp. 283-299, here: p. 287.
68) Regional Strategy for South Eastern Europe, PC.DEC/344, 16 March 2000, at: http//www.osce.org/docs/English/pc/2000/decision/pced344.htm.
69) OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 47.
70) Odd Gunnar Skagestad, Keeping Hope alive, in: OSCE Yearbook (1999), pp. 211-223.
71) Cited ibid. pp. 211-212.
72) Randolf Oberschmidt/Wolfgang Zellner, op. cit., p. 25.
73) Cited in: OSCE Handbook, op. cit., p. 149.
74) Nils Daag, From CSBMs to Conflict Prevention, OSCE-Korea Conference 2001: Applicability of OSCE CSBMs in Northeast Asia, Seoul, 19-21 March 2001, pp. 1-9, here: p. 6.
75) Ibid, pp. 154-155.
76) Ibid, p. 167.
77) Hans J. Giessmann, European Security and Defense Identity Issues in a Global Perspective, KNDU-review, Vol. 5, no. 2 (December 2000), pp. 33-66.
78) Zdislaw Lachowski/Adam Daniel Rotfeld, CSBMs in Europe: Success or Failure, Manuscript not yet published, mimeo, pp. 1-10.
79) Cf. Barry K. Gills, What CSBMs for Northeast Asia, OSCE Conference, Seoul, 21 March 2001, mimeo.,