Canada’s ideas on better security

Meeting of senior officials of Asean and its dialogue partners
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Proposals include swopping army observers

CANADA has proposed several measures to enhance security and boost confidence in the Asia-Pacific region.

These include the exchange of information among defence planners, swapping military observers, transparency of arms transfers and prior notification of military exercises.

Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Political and International Security Affairs, Mr Gaetan Lavertu, disclosed this yesterday at the end of the talks on regional security between senior officials of Asean and its dialogue partners – the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea and the European Community.

He said that Canada had presented two papers on the proposals.

“These papers were intended as food for thought and a basis for further discussions,” he said.

The first paper focused on ways to contain and prevent conflicts in the region, he said.

Canada also wanted to compare notes on peacekeeping operations because most countries in the region were involved in such activities, he added.

“There is a consensus of developing the concept of preventive diplomacy at the regional level in support of whatever the UN is doing at the global level.”

The second paper, he said, was about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the build-up of conventional weapons.

He said: “Most of us share similar objectives with regard to the commitment to proliferation and standards.

“Our suggestion, therefore, was to see if we could work together to determine how we could best advance our common objectives.”

Mr Lavertu said that the other countries were receptive to the Canadian proposals. He said that there would not be a time-frame for its implementation.

The two papers would be considered by working groups, which would meet to discuss specific issues and make their recommendations to the Asean-Post Ministerial Conference.

At the two-day meeting, which ended yesterday, the senior officials discussed a wide range of security issues.

These included preventive diplomacy and the management of conflicts, the arms race and UN peacekeeping activities in the region.

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