February 28, 1998


Organization of American States
San Salvador Regional Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures
February 28, 1998

Adopted at the fifth plenary session, held February 28, 1998

The member states of the Organization of American States, meeting at the San Salvador Regional Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in follow-up to the Santiago Conference:

Reaffirm that the 1995 Declaration of Santiago on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and the measures set forth therein remain fully in effect1 and, encouraged by the consolidation of democracy in the region and by efforts promoting international disarmament, peace, and security, express their willingness to continue strengthening confidence and security in the Hemisphere.

Recognize that mutual confidence has been strengthened through inter-American cooperation to face common problems affecting the security of states.

Reaffirm that respect for international law, faithful compliance with treaties, the peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for the sovereignty of states and for the principle of nonintervention, and the prohibition of the use or threat of the use of force, in accordance with the terms of the Charters of the Organization of American States and the United Nations, are the basis for peaceful coexistence and security in the Hemisphere, and constitute the framework for the development of confidence- and security-building measures. They also affirm that an essential condition for achieving an effective international security system is that all states submit to universal, equal, and binding rules.

Reaffirm also that consolidating democratic processes strengthens coexistence among states and security in the Hemisphere.

Acknowledge the significant progress made in identifying and applying confidence- and security-building measures since the adoption of the Declaration of Santiago, which has helped to reduce factors that generate distrust and contributed to the promotion of transparency and mutual confidence, in keeping with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the Organization of American States, respect for international law, and the promotion of friendly and cooperative relations among the states in the region.

Acknowledge further that the progress made in economic integration processes in the Hemisphere builds confidence and security, and recognize the importance of having all member states participate in and benefit from these processes.

Note with satisfaction the achievement of the first inhabited nuclear-weapon-free area of the world three decades after the pioneering effort enshrined in the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

Consider that the climate of hemispheric security has been further strengthened by the General Assembly decision to reaffirm the goals of the global elimination of antipersonnel land mines and the conversion of the Western Hemisphere into an antipersonnel-land-mine-free zone; by the adoption of the amended Protocol II to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects; and by the signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Land Mines and on their Destruction, the signature and ratification of which, by all the member states, as soon as possible, they consider advisable. They further recognize the contribution to hemispheric security made by various bans, moratoria, and other restrictions on antipersonnel land mines already declared by states. They take note of efforts to address the antipersonnel land mine issue in other fora, including the United Nations, regional organizations and groupings, and the Conference on Disarmament.

Consider also that hemispheric security is further enhanced through two significant international actions: the signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. Additionally, the prompt and successful conclusion of current negotiations on a protocol to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxic Weapons and on Their Destruction will also enhance hemispheric security.

Recall the OAS objective of concluding mine-clearing in Central America by the year 2000, and highlight the important achievements of the Mine-Clearing Assistance Program in that region, with the participation and support of a growing number of member states, permanent observers, and other states, as well as the technical assistance rendered by the Inter-American Defense Board.

Recognize that the prompt ratification and entry into force of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Production of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials will contribute to further strengthening confidence, security, and cooperation among states to combat this serious problem.

Underscore the importance of the coming into force of the Framework Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America, based on its own model of security, which is a concrete and significant step forward for the subregion, and that the Committee on Security, established in that Treaty, is developing an annual program on confidence- and security-building measures to strengthen the rule of law and the democratic system.

Note with satisfaction 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, which reflects the commitments made with respect to this issue and the decision by these states to dedicate their resources "to economic and social progress for increasing sustainable human development," and which emphasizes the importance of "agreeing on and implementing a consultative process at the hemispheric level on the limitation and control of arms."

Note with satisfaction the initiation of consultations in the Hemisphere, in follow-up to the Declaration of Santiago, on the limitation and control of conventional weapons, and in particular the work and reflections of the Rio Group on this issue.

Underscore the important progress achieved since the Declaration of Santiago by the Southern Cone countries in fostering mutual confidence and security, by setting up various permanent bilateral mechanisms for consultation and coordination on security matters and defense policies among Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay, as well as conducting joint military exercises between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Note with satisfaction the results of the Second Meeting of Ministers of Defense of the Americas, held in 1996 in Bariloche, Argentina, which contributed to confidence and to the exchange of viewpoints on defense and security issues.

Note the importance of inter-American conferences and meetings of Joint Chiefs of Staff and Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff to strengthen cooperation and implement any military confidence- and security-building measures adopted by the member states.

Recognize that the concept of security for the small island states of the Hemisphere is multidimensional in scope, involving state and nonstate actors, and includes political, economic, social, and natural components. The small island states have concluded that among the threats to their security are illegal drug trafficking, the illegal trade in arms, increasing levels of crime and corruption, environmental and economic vulnerability, particularly in relation to trade, susceptibility to natural disasters, transportation of nuclear waste, and increased levels of poverty.

Note that, pursuant to the decision of the OAS General Assembly regarding the Declaration of Santiago, the Committee on Hemispheric Security has received reports from governments as contributions to the preparation of a complete and systematic list of confidence- and security-building measures. This allows for the dissemination, follow-up, and periodic evaluation of its implementation. In this context, they reiterate the importance of the annual submission by member states of information on the measures referred to in resolutions AG/RES. 1409 (XXVI-O/96) and AG/RES. 1494 (XXVII-O/97).

Emphasize, in this regard, the work carried out by the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security in conformity with the General Assembly resolutions on the Declaration of Santiago.

Recognize that the growing application of confidence- and security-building measures is an expression of the political will of the states to strengthen peace and security in the Hemisphere. Their implementation, in conformity with the geographic, political, social, cultural, and economic conditions of each country or region and with the needs of each state, in the most appropriate manner, contributes to increasing security in the Hemisphere.

Emphasize that the application of confidence- and security-building measures, through practical and useful actions, will facilitate more far-reaching cooperation processes in the future in areas such as arms control and hemispheric security.

Convinced of the importance of the confidence- and security-building process, and of the implementation of measures such as those identified in the Declaration of Santiago, for the consolidation of a region inspired by democratic values and sustained by a culture of peace, agree to recommend the application, in the most appropriate manner, of additional measures including the following:

  1. Encourage contact and cooperation among legislators on confidence-building measures and on matters of peace and hemispheric security, including conferences, the exchange of visits, and a meeting of parliamentarians, in order to strengthen this process.

  2. Extend to diplomatic training institutes, military academies, research centers, and universities the seminars, courses, and studies envisioned in the Declarations of Santiago and San Salvador on confidence- and security-building measures, disarmament, and other issues related to peace and hemispheric security, with participation in those activities by government, civilian, and military officials and by civil society.

  3. Identify and carry out activities promoting cooperation among neighboring countries along their border regions.

  4. Promote the exchange of information, inter alia, through the publication of books on defense or official documents, as appropriate, permitting greater transparency with respect to the defense policies of each country, and on the organization, structure, size, and composition of the armed forces.

  5. In order to promote transparency, and with technical support from the appropriate international economic agencies, encourage the carrying out of studies for establishing a common methodology in order to facilitate the comparison of military expenditures in the region, taking into account, inter alia, the United Nations Standardized International Reporting of Military Expenditures.

  6. Develop a cooperation program to address the concerns raised by maritime transport of nuclear and other waste, and to cooperate and coordinate in the relevant international fora to strengthen standards governing such transport and its safety.

  7. Continue supporting the efforts of the small island states to address their special security concerns, including those of an economic, financial, and environmental nature, taking into consideration their vulnerability and level of development.

  8. Improve and broaden the information submitted by the member states to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, so as to enhance the Hemisphere's contribution to pursuing the aims of that register, in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

  9. Continue consultations and the exchange of ideas within the Hemisphere to advance the limitation and control of conventional weapons in the region.

Express the advisability of strengthening mechanisms and instruments for the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Recommend that the Committee on Hemispheric Security hold a special meeting annually, with the participation of experts, dedicated to the analysis and exchange of information on the confidence- and security-building measures identified in the Declaration of Santiago, in this Declaration, and in the relevant mandates of the General Assembly of the OAS, with a view to assessing progress on their implementation in the Hemisphere.

Recommend also that the Committee on Hemispheric Security:

  1. Study the recommendations emanating from the High-Level Meeting on the Special Security Concerns of Small Island States, held on February 25, 1998, in order to generate greater awareness and understanding of the special security concerns of the small island states of the Caribbean, and continue to implement appropriate action, as well as identify new measures of cooperation to address these concerns.

  2. Hold a meeting for which member states would make available their experts who had served on the group of government experts on the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, in order that those experts provide information about the results of the group's work, and convene a meeting for an exchange of views in order to increase participation in the register.

  3. Seek, in its deliberations, to advance the development of the most appropriate approach at the hemispheric level with a view to strengthening dialogue to manage questions related to conventional weapons.

  4. Seek, in its deliberations, to advance the development of the most appropriate approach at the hemispheric level with a view to strengthening dialogue to manage questions related to small arms and trafficking therein.

  5. Conclude the preparation of, and begin to implement, the education program for peace in the Hemisphere agreed on by the General Assembly of the OAS.

  6. Promote the exchange of experiences among the member states as well as with relevant regional and nonregional organizations and institutions, in order to strengthen international peace and security.

Recommend to the Organization of American States that it take the initial steps to facilitate the meeting of parliamentarians referred to earlier in this Declaration.

Recommend that the General Secretariat annually update the OAS Register of Experts on confidence- and security-building measures appointed by the member states.

Recommend that the General Assembly consider, when appropriate, the holding, by way of follow-up, of another regional conference on confidence- and security-building measures, as well as another high-level meeting on the special security concerns of small island states.

Recall that this conference is being held in follow-up to the Regional Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (Santiago, Chile, November 1995) mandated by the Summit of the Americas (Miami, December 1994). In that regard, they express their conviction that the Summit of the Americas to be held in Santiago, Chile, this April is an important opportunity to consolidate achievements in hemispheric confidence and security. They also expect it to be an opportunity to consider guidelines according to which the OAS, through its relevant bodies, would study possible means of revitalizing and strengthening the institutions of the inter-American system related to the various aspects of hemispheric security, with a view to meeting the challenges of the coming century.

The member states express their special appreciation to the Government of El Salvador for its excellent work in preparing for and conducting the Regional Conference and the High-Level Meeting, as well as for the many courtesies it extended to the participating delegations. They also wish to thank the OAS General Secretariat for its efforts in organizing the two meetings.

San Salvador, El Salvador
February 28, 1998


APPENDIX

CONFIDENCE- AND SECURITY-BUILDING MEASURES2

In accordance with the foregoing, the governments of the OAS member states, meeting in Santiago, Chile, agree to recommend the application, in the manner that is most suitable, of confidence- and security-building measures, among which the following should be mentioned:

  1. Gradual adoption of agreements regarding advance notice of military exercises;

  2. Exchange of information and participation of all member states in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the Standardized International Reporting of Military Expenditures;

  3. Promotion of the development and exchange of information concerning defense policies and doctrines;

  4. Consideration of a consultation process with a view to proceeding towards limitation and control of conventional weapons;

  5. Agreements on invitation of observers to military exercises, visits to military installations, arrangements for observing routine operations and exchange of civilian and military personnel for regular and advanced training;

  6. Meetings and activities to prevent incidents and increase security for transport by land, sea, and air;

  7. Cooperation programs in the event of natural disasters or to prevent such disasters, based on the request and authorization of the affected states;

  8. Development and establishment of communications among civilian or military authorities of neighboring countries in accordance with their border situation;

  9. Holding of seminars and courses, and studies on mutual confidence- and security-building measures and policies to promote confidence involving the participation of civilians and military personnel, and on the special security concerns of small island states;

  10. High-level meetings on the special security concerns of small island states; and

  11. Education Programs of education for peace.


FOOTNOTES

1. See appendix.

2. Declaration of Santiago on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, adopted at the Regional Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures on November 10, 1995, Santiago, Chile (COSEGRE/doc.20/95 rev. 1).