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MTCR meets in Rome – Bonino warns against underestimating spread of weapons delivery missiles

“A perfect opportunity for assessing the effectiveness” of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), was Minister for Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino’s comment on the plenary meeting that began yesterday at the foreign ministry in Rome. The 34-member multilateral meeting met for the first time in Rome in 1988 to address the increasing threat of missiles for nuclear weapons delivery, and has since then, “been the only instrument for stemming the proliferation of missile delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction, thereby contributing to bolstering peace and security; many countries have suspended their missile programmes and even destroyed their ballistic missiles”, the minister pointed out.

Proliferation a key concern in Syria, Iran and North Korea, says Bonino

And on the occasion of the Plenary Meeting in Rome, which also coincided with the Italian presidency of the MTCR, Minister Bonino underscored the timeliness of its efforts. “This plenary meeting is taking place at a key moment. Syria, North Korea, Iran and the area free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East are all fundamental issues in which the importance of the proliferation of delivery systems has been underestimated”, Bonino asserted, at the same time pointing out how MTCR stances “must not become an obstacle to technological progress and international development. On the contrary, they must encourage both”.

Ministro cites Italian priority of increasing MTCR membership

Praising “the inestimable contribution of the experts who have worked hard on information exchanges, application and licensing and technical aspects of missile delivery systems”, the minister noted the importance of “improving dialogue and cooperation with countries with missile capability” and with those located in “strategic launching positions”, as well as of pursuing the path of dialogue with other international organizations involved in stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. “It will come as no surprise that Italy has made a priority of supporting the candidacy of States that are not yet members” of the MTCR, Minister Bonino concluded, underscoring nevertheless that the criteria for MTCR membership “must be respected” just as “implementation of the regulations for the control of exports are binding for all European Union countries”.