Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Brussels, 19 October 2022

From 17 to 21 October 2022, the 35 member states of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) will negotiate common guidelines for the export of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones and associated components and technologies in Montreux. The plenary meeting of the MTCR will be hosted by Switzerland, which will assume the chair of the MTCR on 19 October 2022. By chairing the MTCR, Switzerland will contribute to efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, as stipulated in the Federal Council’s Arms Control and Disarmament Strategy 2022–2025.

The proliferation of missile systems is a threat to international security. To prevent proliferation, the MTCR’s 35 partner states have adopted common guidelines and a list of goods and technologies to control the export of unmanned delivery systems (i.e. without a crew) for weapons of mass destruction.

On 19 October 2022, Switzerland will assume the chair of the MTCR for a one-year term; it is hosting the MTCR plenary meeting in Montreux from 17 to 21 October. Switzerland is taking over the chair from Russia. “As chair, Switzerland is discharging its responsibility in the area of international security,” said FDFA State Secretary Livia Leu at the opening of the plenary meeting.

Ambassador Benno Laggner will serve as the Swiss chair of the MTCR. Ambassador Laggner currently serves on the board of governors and is Switzerland’s resident representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and permanent representative to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Swiss chair in a difficult context

Switzerland is assuming the chair of the MTCR at a sensitive time, especially as the current international context and recent security developments have made multilateral consensus-building efforts more difficult. Until very recently, MTCR activities were negatively affected by the pandemic, which caused the cancellation of international meetings and in-person discussions.

This lends the Swiss chair added significance. Switzerland is trusted to maintain dialogue and bring the MTCR partners together. The strengths that Swiss diplomacy brings to the table as a neutral bridge-builder will play a key role in this context.

In line with the Federal Council’s Arms Control and Disarmament Strategy 2022–25, Switzerland has defined three priorities for its term as chair of the MTCR:

–        the first task is to maintain and strengthen the MTCR’s institutional structures, for example through the resumption of regular meetings;

–        furthermore, the MTCR’s visibility and relevance must be raised, for example through exchanges with non-members;

–        in addition, the MTCR’s technical work should be emphasised by including more technical experts in discussions with non-members.

Common export guidelines

With the aim of preventing the proliferation of unmanned delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction, the MTCR partner states have agreed a set of common export control guidelines and a list of controlled goods and technologies. The focus is on systems capable of delivering a warhead weighing 500 kilogrammes or more to ranges exceeding 300 kilometres. In addition to regularly reviewing and adapting the control list, the partner states also share the latest findings in the area of missile proliferation. In the plenary meeting, they discuss policy issues and take decisions by consensus.

Source – Swiss Government

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