OEA/Ser.G     CE/GCI-161/99
23 September 1999
Original: Spanish


The Ambassador, Mission of Chile
to the
Organization of American States

Washington, D.C.
September 20, 1999

His Excellency
Peter Boehm
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Canada
Chair of the Special Committee on
Inter-American Summits Management,
Organization of American States
Washington, D.C.


I have the honor to address Your Excellency and to refer to the meeting of the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management, to be held on October 12, 1999. At that time, according to the approved calendar of activities, one of the items to be analyzed will be confidence- and security-building among states, which Chile is responsible for coordinating.

In this regard, and in response to your request that documents for discussion be distributed sufficiently in advance of the meeting, I am pleased to attach the report prepared by the Government of Chile on this matter.

Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.

Carlos Portales Cifuentes

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Chile
to the Organization of American States


 At the Second Summit of the Americas, the Heads of State and Government signed a Political Declaration, which reads as follows: "With deep satisfaction, we note that peace, an essential value for human coexistence, is a reality in the Hemisphere. We underscore that Central America has become a zone of peace, democracy, and development and we recognize efforts to eliminate antipersonnel mines and to rehabilitate their victims. We will continue to foster confidence and security among our countries through such measures as those mentioned in the Santiago and San Salvador Declarations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures. We encourage the pacific settlement of disputes."

An initial assessment has revealed significant accomplishments in this field with the ultimate objective of strengthening the climate of peace and security in the region.

Exemplifying such accomplishments are the Peace Accords signed by Ecuador and Peru in 1998, which have permitted unparalleled progress towards integration and border cooperation between the two countries and the entry into force of an agreement reached in 1998 between Chile and Argentina to delineate the border running from Monte Fitz Roy to El Cerro Daudet.

Central America is consolidating the mechanisms established by the Framework Treaty on Democratic Security, a legal instrument that has made an important conceptual contribution to the task of creating security models and strategies in accordance with the needs of the member states. Significant steps have also been taken towards the elimination of anti-personnel land mines in the region, notwithstanding the problems created by recent climactic phenomena that have affected programs in execution.

Significant progress has been made in the Caribbean, especially in implementing the mechanisms created by the Treaty for Regional Security, designed to strengthen cooperation with respect to the various security concerns of those States.

Significant progress has also been made at the subregional level. The political declaration of MERCOSUR, Bolivia, and Chile as a Zone of Peace constitutes a significant act in the field of hemispheric security and defense. These countries have not only declared a zone of peace free of weapons of mass destruction, but have also undertaken to strengthen the mechanisms for consultation and cooperation in the areas of security and defense, and to move forward in making this zone of peace a zone free of anti-personnel land mines.

This report summarizes these and other actions taken in the region pursuant to the mandates issued by our heads of state and government in the Political Declaration and Plan of Action of Santiago. The actions and measures mentioned demonstrate that there is a commitment to advance towards new forms and concepts of peaceful coexistence and exemplify the new spirit now inspiring the states of the hemisphere.





Confidence- and security-building among States

I. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

On April 19-20, 1999, a "Forum on the Future of International Security in the Hemisphere" was held at the headquarters of the Organization of American States as an academic-diplomatic meeting organized by the Permanent Mission of Chile to the OAS with the support of the Permanent Mission of the United States and the OAS General Secretariat.

The objective of the forum was to initiate dialogue between academics and specialists of the countries of the Americas on hemispheric security, with the aim of contributing to greater conceptual precision in definitions ranging from traditional notions of security with an emphasis on political and military aspects, to much broader conceptions, encompassing economic, social, environmental, and other fields.

In addition to this conceptual clarification, the dialogue permitted an analysis of hemispheric and subregional experiences, such as the process of implementing confidence- and security-building measures, progress toward democratic security in Central America, and the special security concerns of small island states in the Caribbean.

Finally, the operation of Inter-American security institutions was assessed on a preliminary basis, and in particular the Inter-American Defense Board and the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance.

II. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

The countries of the region have continued to provide information to the OAS on the application of measures and recommendations issued by the regional conferences of Santiago and San Salvador and to the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), which has continued to compile information on confidence-building measures in the military field.

With respect to the exchange of information through the OAS, the following countries have provided information on military, as well as political, economic, and diplomatic measures they have implemented, at the national as well as bilateral and regional levels (OAS Document No):

Based on this exchange of information, a number of points warrant special mention:

The information compiled by the IADB in preparing the inventory has been mostly in the military field and was furnished by the Regional Conference of Santiago and reiterated by the Regional Conference of San Salvador. In November 1998, the IADB published an initial version of the inventory.

In preparing this inventory, the IADB took into account:

A number of new, non-military measures have also been incorporated into the inventory, especially by the Central American and West Caribbean countries. These measures are as follows:

    1. creation of the Central American Institute of Advanced Studies;
    2. prevention and adjudication of criminal activities
    3. Recovery and return of vehicles
    4. maritime police functions
    5. the prevention of smuggling.

Significant progress has also been made at the subregional level, including:

- The entry into force in January 1998 of the Framework Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America, signed by El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama, and work by the Commission on Central American Security;

- Creation of the Conference of Central American Armed Forces in November 1997;

- The Declaration of the Presidents of Central America and the Dominican Republic and the Representative of the Prime Minister of Belize on the Non-participation in the Acquisition of Strategic High-Technology and High-Cost Weapons of Mass Destruction, in 1998;

- The Second Central American Military Forum for a Culture of Peace and Non Violence in 1998

- The Treaty establishing the Regional Security System of seven East Caribbean countries, signed in 1996 by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

- Presidential Declaration on Combating the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and other related materials, signed by the Presidents of MERCOSUR, Chile and Bolivia in April 1998;

- The Declaration of MERCOSUR, Bolivia, and Chile as a Zone of Peace in July 1998;

- The Peace Accords between Peru and Ecuador in October 1998;

- The Agreement to Delineate the Border between the Monte Fitz Roy and El Cerro Daudet, between Chile and Argentina in 1998;

- The joint presentation by Argentina and Chile on mutual confidence measures within the framework of the Third Conference on Defense in the Americas;

- The Joint Declaration of February 16, 1999, by the Presidents of Chile and Argentina on confidence- and security-building;

- The contribution announced by the United States towards the creation of a hemispheric communication network for the exchange of information on confidence- and security-building measures mandated by the Summits of the Americas, the meetings of Ministers of Defense of the Americas , and the Declarations of Santiago and San Salvador, respectively.

III. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

The special security concerns of small island states have been discussed primarily in two fora: the high-level meeting held in San Salvador in February 1998 and the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security. In both fora, the following factors affecting the security of these states were identified:

At the hemispheric level, the OAS General Secretariat has adopted a number of measures in response to these special security concerns as they relate to economic matters, the environment and natural risks, the promotion of democracy, and cooperation for the eradication of illicit drug trafficking and abuse. These measures include the following:

i. Economic matters: technical assistance has been provided by the OAS Trade Unit to the FTAA negotiating and consultative groups of countries with small economies and the Organization of Regional Seminars on matters related to FTAA for the officials of Caribbean island States.

ii. Environment and natural risks: the OAS Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment has implemented a series of technical assistance programs for the mitigation of natural risks and adaptation to world climate change, financed with external resources.

iii. Promotion of democracy: the Program of Support for Legislative Institutions and Processes, with the participation of the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago; the program on the network of Legislative Leaders of the Americas and the program on the Promotion of Democratic Values and Practices.

The OAS is also cooperating with the Secretariat of the Caribbean community (CARICOM) in the execution of the project on Education for Democracy in the States of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

iv. Cooperation in the eradication of illicit drug trafficking and abuse: technical assistance programs conducted by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission.

IV. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

Demining efforts in the region have been focused on Central America, where demining programs have been conducted with assistance from the OAS General Secretariat (Unit for the Promotion of Democracy) and technical assistance from the Inter-American Defense Board. These programs began in 1992 and have thus far involved Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras. These national programs are being conducted within the framework of the Program of Assistance for Demining in Central America (PADCA).

Since their inception, these national programs have received financial support from the member states of the region as well as from countries outside the hemisphere.

The OAS Unit for the Promotion of Democracy reports regularly to the member states on progress with the Program of Assistance for Demining in Central America (PADCA). The final presentation was given late last year, and reported on the effects of Hurricane Mitch on the process of mine removal, as well as aspects pertaining to program coordination, in particular, questions related to international financing, fundraising activities, and infrastructure and equipment needs. On this last point, note was taken of the Secretary General’s request for technical support from the member states in the form of demining experts from those member states.

Other important activities undertaken in the region include:

- Support for demining efforts on the border between Peru and Ecuador in conjunction with the Peace Accords of October 1998. The United States and Canada announced important contributions in this regard;

- The announcement by Nicaragua in March 1999 of its intention to destroy all mines in storage;

- The commitment of the United States to eliminate all mines placed by the United States around Guantanamo Bay in Cuba by the end of 1999 and its announcement that it would increase its contributions to the demining effort;

- The official declaration of the Government of Chile, on April 26, 1999, decreeing a unilateral moratorium on the production, export, import, and installation of new antipersonnel mines.

- The Conference on International Humanitarian Demining, convened by the United States to promote he objectives of the "Demining 2010 Initiative" held in Washington, D.C., on May 20-22, 1998;

- The Regional Seminar to Promote the Convention on the Prohibition of the Destruction, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, organized by Canada and Mexico on January 11-12, 1999, in Mexico City. On that occasion, a Program of Joint Cooperation was signed by the Governments of Mexico and Canada and the Pan American Health Organization to assist victims of antipersonnel mines in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

The Convention of 1997 on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on their Destruction has been signed by 33 countries and ratified by 24.

Participation in the OAS Register of Antipersonnel Land Mines, established by Permanent Counsel Resolution CP/RES. 724 (1162/98), of May 22, 1998, has been sparse: only seven countries have provided information.

V. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

With respect to transparency in matters related to defense policy, several countries have provided information on their defense policies within the OAS, presenting reports and publications on the subject. The following countries provided such information: Brazil (Brazil’s Defense Policy); Canada (The Canadian National Planning Document - 1998); Chile (a book on Chile’s Defense Policy); El Salvador (the Salvadoran Nation, Defense, Security and Development) and the United States (Transparency in United States Defense Planning).

With regard to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, an extensive exchange of ideas took place within the framework of the OAS among the member states and experts from member states who participated in the group of governmental experts in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, with a view to providing information on the results of the group’s work and at the same time exchanging ideas on better means of increasing the region’s participation in that Register.

The Undersecretary General of the United Nations for Disarmament and the Director of the Regional United Nations Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean reported on United Nations activities in the field of disarmament and security, with reference to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the United Nations Standardized International Reporting of Military Expenditures. Although the region’s participation overall has been more extensive than other regions of the world, it has not been universal. On average, the number of countries regularly sending information varies between 14 and 16 per year. This information is also sent to the OAS General Secretariat in accordance with AG/RES. 1409 (XXVI-O/96), AG/RES. 1494 (XXVII-O/97), AG/RES. 1566 (XXVIII-O/98) and AG/RES. 1623 (XXIX-O/99).

A very important milestone was the signature during the OAS General Assembly session held in Guatemala, in June 1999, of the Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions, an initiative of the governments of Brazil and the United States. On that occasion, 24 states signed the Convention, which transformed the recommendations to report on these matters into a binding obligation.

The Convention stipulated the obligation to report annually on exports and acquisitions of conventional weapons in the region and to report, within a period of 90 days, any acquisition of conventional weapons, whether imported or produced domestically.

The reports must be transmitted to the Secretary General of the OAS for distribution to the other states parties. The conventional weapons referred to in the Convention are the same as those enumerated in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

It should be noted, finally, that Argentina and Chile submitted a request to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in 1998 for the development of common comparative indicators on military expenditures by these two countries. Pursuant to that request, ECLAC provided the two countries with a document containing a number of proposals. At the second meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense of Chile and Argentina, which took place in May 1999, it was agreed to communicate acceptance of the basic proposals by ECLAC. At the VII meeting of the Argentine-Chilean Permanent Committee on Security (June 26-27, 1999) technical information was exchanged for the purpose of subsequent referral to ECLAC for study.

VI. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

Participation by countries in the region dates back to the first activities of this kind within the United Nations. In November 1998, Chile announced its willingness to contribute a contingent to the United Nations stand-by forces.

The joint peacekeeping exercises conducted in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Argentina are also noteworthy.

An activity that does not fall within the context of United Nations peacekeeping efforts but that is relevant to the general purposes of that activity have been the contributions of several countries (Chile, the United States, Brazil, and Argentina) to the Mission of Military Observers Ecuador-Peru (MOMEP), initially in the pacification activities being carried out in the zone in dispute and afterwards in the work of definitively delineating the border between the two countries.

VII. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

The tragic consequences of Hurricanes Georges and Mitch in the Caribbean and Central America, and the earthquake that struck Armenia, Colombia, last year, attest to the need for effective coordination between countries in responding to natural disasters.

At the regional level, countries mobilized to provide assistance to victims and coordinate humanitarian assistance with the countries affected. The OAS General Secretariat and the Pan American Health Organization played an active part in this activity, through specific medical and rescue services (PAHO) and the coordination of international financial and humanitarian assistance.

During the OAS General Assembly in Guatemala City, a resolution was approved at the initiative of a number of Caribbean countries aimed at contending with disaster situations such as those created by Hurricanes Georges and Mitch. This resolution entitled "OAS Disaster Reduction and Response Mechanisms" established the Inter-American Disaster Committee (CIAD) as the principle forum for addressing disaster-related issues.

The CIAD, which is chaired by the Chairman of the Permanent Council and composed of the OAS Secretary General, the President of the IDB, the Director General of PAHO, the Secretary General of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History, the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the President of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), and the Executive Secretary of CIDI. Its function is to serve as the principle OAS forum for analysis of disaster-related issues, including a strategic approach to the issue, to which end it will provide the Permanent Council with advice and recommendations concerning disaster-related matters, taking into account in particular policies and programs designed to reduce the vulnerability of member states to disasters. 

Another mechanisms available to the region is the White Helmets Initiative incorporated in the OAS in 1997. In April 1998, the OAS Permanent Council approved the regulations for coordinating the White Helmets Initiative and the use of its Special Fund. In 1998 the OAS and the White Helmets Commission - Argentina also signed an agreement on the donation and use of specifically targeted contributions from the Argentine Republic to the Special White Helmets Initiative Fund. The support provided by Argentina amounted to US$500,000.

In July 1999, the OAS signed an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under which the Bank committed US$750,000 to the Special Fund for Social Emergency Projects instigated in response to recent disasters.

Noteworthy at the subregional level were exercises conducted by the Allied Humanitarian Forces of Chile and El Salvador in April 1998; exercises conducted by Joint Chiefs of Staff for mutual assistance between the armed forces of Chile and Argentina in the event of catastrophes; and the activities conducted by the conference of Central American Armed forces, as well as the civil defense exercise in Nicaragua (April 1998) and the forest fire simulation in Guatemala (June 1998).

VIII. Governments will:

Actions taken in the region

In Brasilia, on October 26, 1998, the Presidents of Ecuador and Peru signed accords bringing a final end to differences that have separated these two countries for decades. The accords signed were as follows:

At the same time, the two Heads of State also signed the Presidential Agreement of Brasilia, placing it on record that the Accords signed had definitively settled the border disputes between the two countries and represented the firm commitment of their respective governments to complete the delineation of their common border as soon as possible.

They also recognized the fundamental role played in reaching these understandings by the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the United States, Guarantor Countries for the 1942 Protocol of Rio de Janeiro on Peace, Friendship, and Border Delineation.

On April 7, 1999, ratifications of these agreements were exchanged. On that occasion, both countries also undertook to expand and strengthen the framework for bilateral relations.

On May 13, 1999, the final marker of the common border was put in place, whereupon the accords signed in Brazil entered into force.

In August 1999, the agreement between the Republic of Chile and the Argentine Republic for delineation of the border between Monte Fitz Roy and El Cerro Daudet, signed in December 1998, entered into force.

IX. Governments will:

Acknowledge the value of ministerial or high-level meetings on the topics of international defense and security, such as the Defense Ministerials of Williamsburg and Bariloche, as an important contribution to regional dialogue on these matters, and, in this context, encourage interested countries to hold other meetings.

Actions taken in the region

Between November 30 and December 3, 1998, the III Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas was held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and adopted the Declaration of Cartagena. In that Declaration, the Ministers of Defense and other defense officials highlighted inter alia the importance of commitments undertaken by the Heads of State and Government at the Summit of the Americas to promote regional dialogue and a climate of security and confidence among nations in the hemisphere; the need to strengthen institutions concerned with the various aspects of security and improve the mechanisms for providing preventive support before, during, and after natural disasters; their condemnation of all forms of terrorism; their commitment to international law; their firm adherence to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

With regard to confidence- and security-building measures, they reiterated the importance of encouraging meetings and exchanges between security, military, and defense authorities on a bilateral, subregional, or regional basis; the right of each nation to maintain security, military, and defense forces to discharge the responsibilities enshrined in their constitution in accordance with the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States; the importance and effectiveness of the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC), as a regional security and defense body; their support for voluntary and active participation by nations in the hemisphere in peacekeeping operations and the efforts of the Organization of American States to rid the region of the dangers posed by antipersonnel mines; support for a practical approach to the potentially destabilizing effects of small and light arms proliferation, recognizing the importance of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.

Finally, the Defense Ministers and officials accepted the offer of the Government of Brazil to host the IV Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas in 2000.

X. Governments will:

Entrust the OAS, through the Committee on the Hemispheric Security, to:

Actions taken in the region

The OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security (CSH) held two meetings to consider these mandates.

On February 25, 1999, the CSH reviewed implementation of the confidence- and security-building measures adopted in Santiago and San Salvador with the presence of the Chairman of both conferences.

On that occasion, the member states reported on measures already adopted by their respective countries with a view to implementing the confidence- and security-building measures; reiterated the importance of these measures in ensuring transparency in the region; and indicated that consideration of this issue within the OAS is an indication of the member states’ commitment to confidence- and security-building measures.

Subsequently, on April 20-21, 1999, the CSH held a special meeting with the participation of experts from the capitals to: a) perform an analysis on the significance, scope, and prospects of international security concepts in the hemisphere, for the purpose of developing the most appropriate common approaches to various matters, including disarmament and arms control; and b) identify ways to revitalize and strengthen the institutions of the Inter-American system concerned with the various aspects of hemispheric security.

On that occasion, the discussion included, inter alia, redefinition of the concept of security and the new threats to security; the role of the OAS, the OAS General Secretariat, and the Inter-American Defense Board; strengthening of the Committee on Hemispheric Security; cooperation between the member states in seeking an early solution to disputes and a response to threats to security; and the need for mechanisms to ensure long-term security. 

As a result of this initial exchange of ideas, the OAS General Assembly, at its session in Guatemala in June 1999, agreed on the following activities: