OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

03/10/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/10/2021 04:35

OSCE Mission to Skopje launches new project to reduce misuse of small arms and light weapons in North Macedonia

SKOPJE, 10 March 2021 - The OSCE Mission to Skopje launched today a new project aimed at assisting North Macedonia in reducing the risk of trafficking and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW), which pose security risks to the country and the wider region.

'The safety of national SALW stockpiles is of paramount importance to increase security, contribute to fighting organized crime, and prevent trafficking, ultimately contributing to the security of citizens in the region and beyond,' said Clemens Koja, Head of OSCE Mission to Skopje at the opening of the kick-off event.

The project, based on input from the government of North Macedonia, builds on the results of a previous project, which the Mission delivered over the last four years.

Oliver Spasovski, Minister of Internal Affairs, said that the problem of uncontrolled proliferation of small arms and light weapons has gained importance in recent years in international, regional and national agendas. This global situation affects mass migration, which changes the existing terrorist models and therefore multiplies the potentially dangerous consequences of small arms and light weapons.

'We often see that this type of illegal and criminal activity is one of the catalysts that further transforms local incidents into much wider regional and global events. From this aspect, it is of utmost importance, on a global level, to build standards for developing effective systems for exchange of information and transparency, sharing best practices, and raising public awareness through the implementation of appropriate projects,' said Spasovski.

Otto Graf, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Skopje said that the aim of this project is to support the law enforcement sector of North Macedonia to develop its professional service. 'This will help the country better address trans-national threats through small arms and light weapons as well as fight organized crime.'

​The European Union and the German Foreign Office provided financial support for both projects. Within the initial project, the Mission helped the Ministry of Internal Affairs upgrade the security infrastructure at 15 border posts throughout the country, establish standard rules of procedure for SALW stockpile management, and strengthen the role of the National SALW Commission.