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G8 Foreign Ministers' Meetings

Conclusions of the meeting of the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Berlin

16 and 17 December 1999

We, the Foreign Ministers of the G8, met in Berlin to make conflict prevention a priority on our political agenda for the years to come. The meeting was scheduled when the Foreign Ministers of the Eight last convened in Cologne on 10 June. Recent regional conflicts and their history, in particular, have demonstrated time and again that we do not lack 'early warning' but 'early decision', and long term concrete and sustainable strategies of prevention.

During our Berlin Meeting, we discussed the G8's future agenda in working to prevent conflict more generally, taking note of work already in hand, particularly on small arms, and the degree of common ground which exists between partners. In the context of conflict prevention, we recalled that the UN Charter confers the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security upon the Security Council, and that the UN Secretary General also has an important role in this respect. The Eight reaffirmed that a reformed and effective UN remains central to our vision to this end.

The causes of armed conflict are multiple and complex. Its prevention requires an integrated comprehensive approach encompassing political, security, economic, financial, environmental, social and development policies, based on the principles of the UN Charter, the rule of law, democracy, social justice, the respect for human rights, a free press and good governance.

Regarding the growing risks of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means we remain committed to further strengthen the international arms control and non-proliferation regimes, to ensure effective export control mechanisms, and to build international confidence. In this connection we equally call for full adherence to, and when required, further strengthening of disarmament and arms control agreements, which are corner stones of international peace and strategic stability.

We considered how the G8, through an approach addressing the range of policy contributions and using the comparative advantages available to it, can work to strengthen the ability of the international community in conflict prevention, focussing on:

Foreign Ministers agreed that the required approach should include work to address particularly the following issues:

We also decided to support the efforts by the UN and regional organizations, in particular the OSCE, to build civilian rapid reaction capabilities including training and deploying civilian police.

The Foreign Ministers of the Eight instructed their Political Directors to use appropriate means, including G8 meetings of officials, under the Political Directors' guidance, to contribute to the preparation of the range of conflict prevention issues in the run-up of their meeting in Miyazaki in July.

The Chairman of the G8 will report separately on the discussion of the situation in the Russian Federation Republic of Chechnya and the Northern Caucasus, and the informal account given by the OSCE Chairman in Office of his visit to the region.

Source: Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

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