The UK is at the heart of international activities to promote arms control issues. In particular:
- the UK was among the first States to sign and ratify the 1997 Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (the 'Mine Ban Treaty'), which entered into force on 1 March 1999. The Landmines Act 1998, which entered into force on the same day, enabled relevant provisions of the Convention to be incorporated into domestic law. The Act makes it a criminal offence to use, develop, produce, keep, or participate in the acquisition or transfer of an anti-personnel landmine. The UK is implementing in full all its obligations under the Convention.
- the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which sets limits on holdings of military equipment, has been a cornerstone of European security architecture since 1990. In November 1999 the UK negotiated and signed an Adaptation Agreement, which reflects the new era in European security by removing the bloc-to-bloc nature of the earlier Treaty and reducing further the ceilings on military equipment.
- the UK is also a State Party to the OSCE Vienna Document 1999 which, although not a hard arms control agreement, promotes transparency, stability and openness in military activity in Europe.
- the UK is an active State Party to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows for unarmed overflight of the entire territory of participating states using a variety of sensors. The Treaty aims to promote transparency in military activities and to enhance confidence and security building whilst facilitating monitoring of compliance with other arms control agreements.
- one of the UK's priorities for new international measures on conventional weapons is a protocol to address the humanitarian problems caused by explosive remnants of war. A group of Governmental experts is discussing next steps during 2002 aiming to reach agreement in December at the meeting of States Parties of the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention in Geneva.
- the UK continues to work closely with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to ensure implementation of the arms control and military confidence-building aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement.