On the 12th October 2009 the Inspectors/Escorts CFE (Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe) Course of the MULTINATIONAL PEACE SUPPORT OPERATIONS TRAINING CENTER (MPSOTC – KILKIS MACEDONIA) started as scheduled (it ends on the 23th October).
Twenty-three students out of 11 different Countries and Organizations (Albania, Germany, Denmark, Norway, UK, USA, Poland, Serbia, Belgium, Montenegro, Greece have responded with participation in this 2 weeks course.
During the course, students attend academic classes, where issues relevant to CFE Treaty are addressed and explained in detail. In the second week students have the opportunity to carry out Inspectors/Escorts Duties during two Training Inspections, designed to make training as realistic as possible.
Moreover, a tentative program with social events allows trainees to visit the famous Greek antiquities in the site of Vergina where King Phillip’s tomb (Alexander’s the Great father) is located and other sightseeing.
Next course to come is the 2 weeks CIMIC Course, scheduled to start on the 30th November 2009. Participation of well known national and international Guest Speakers and Instructors from various Institutions is expected.
OSCE and Greece’s participation and status
The era of detente in relations between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the 1970s led to the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975 and the creation of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). The new climate prevailing in international relations following the collapse of Eastern European regimes and the creation of new independent states from the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to the transformation of the Conference into an Organization in 1995 (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – OSCE).
The OSCE, an Organisation of 56 countries today without a legal personality but inspired by the principles of the Helsinki Final Act – is a forum for political dialogue on issues relating to three dimensions of international security:
I. the political-military,
II. the economic and environmental, and
III. the human dimension.
In Greece’s view, the fact that decisions taken by its participating states are political and not legally binding does not diminish their importance, and should not limit their effectiveness. Greece is fulfilling the obligations arising from the contractual texts drawn up within the framework of the CSCE/OSCE from Helsinki to this day, and it also participates actively in the Organization’s activities, either autonomously or in its capacity as a member state of the European Union.
The leading institution of the OSCE is the annual Chairmanship, exercised by the Foreign Minister. This year the Chairmanship is held by Greece.
The political-military dimension of the OSCE
The overall approach to security on the part of the OSCE includes commitments by the participating states as well as mechanisms that relate to political-military matters. This dimension aims at strengthening security, promoting partnership and transparency among participating states.
In particular, this approach is followed through:
- The Forum for Security Cooperation.
The Forum’s main objectives are: cooperation and negotiations on arms control, disarmament, security and confidence building, as well as the implementation of agreed-upon measures. These measures include the exchange and confirmation of information on armed forces and military activities and the establishment of mechanisms for cooperation between participating states. Since the Forum’s establishment, Greece participates actively in its proceedings and in the implementation of confidence-building measures.
- The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). This is a complex, legally binding text aimed at striking a balance between Europe’s conventional Armed Forces. A Joint Consultative Group, along with technical groups, monitors the observance of the Treaty.
- The Open Skies Treaty. This includes a regime of observation flights by special aircraft equipped with specialised observation systems. The Open Skies Consultative Commission is monitoring the implementation of the Treaty. Greece is one of its founding members and participates with a special aircraft in these flights.