The recent explosions in two arms depots in Serbia and Ukraine in February and March highlighted that the safe storage of ammunition and arms is of great importance for public security on the ground. For historical reasons, the Western Balkans still have large stockpiles of conventional arms and, due to their geographical position, they are one of the main sources for illegal arms trafficking in the EU. This was underscored once again by the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015. This example also highlights another dimension of this complex topic. The arms used in the attacks were, in part, deactivated arms that had been reactivated for the attacks.
Germany, along with the OSCE, has committed itself to all three specific areas: safe storage, combating proliferation and common standards for deactivating SALW. As a result of this, in 2016, a project for the proper and safe storage of arms in Bosnia and Herzegovina was completed after six years. In this project, the Bosnian armed forces also received help with training personnel. We are currently running a project in Montenegro that, among other things, focuses on police border security and arsenals. These measures may help with tracking down arms trafficking more quickly. Finally, as part of an OSCE workshop on deactivating arms, we were able to discuss this topic in depth and encourage an exchange of experiences in this area.
The Federal Republic of Germany paid the record sum of €1.8 million into the OSCE SALW Trust Fund, to support this important work.