Joint consultative group
The Joint Consultative Group (JCG) was established in accordance with Article XVI of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) to consider the issues relating to compliance or possible circumvention of the provisions of the Treaty; to resolve ambiguous situations, disputable aspects and differences in the interpretation, which may arise with regard to the implementation of this Treaty; to consider and agree measures aimed at enhancing the Treaty's viability and effectiveness.
The JCG convenes regular plenary meetings in Vienna. The chairmanship is carried out by the participating States on a rotating basis and in the order of sequence. In accordance with the updated Rules of Procedure and working methods of the JCG since 2016 the Group holds three sessions during the calendar year.
The CFE Treaty was signed on November 19, 1990 in Paris and entered into force on November 9, 1992. Currently there are 30 State Parties to the Treaty. Belarus ratified the CFE Treaty on October 21, 1992.
The Treaty was aimed at establishing secure balance of conventional armed forces in Europe at lower levels, eliminating the inequality of these forces which undermined stability and security; eliminating potential for a surprised attack and large-scale offensive activities in Europe.
The CFE Treaty envisaged the limitation of total levels of armaments and military equipment possessed by two politico-military blocks – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Treaty Organization – in five main categories: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircrafts and heavy helicopters.
The process of adaptation of the CFE Treaty, aimed at increasing its effectiveness and viability through the update of the outdated provisions and consideration of changes occurred in Europe since the Treaty had been signed, took place in 1997-1999. This process resulted in signing the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty on November 19, 1999 at the OSCE Istanbul Summit. The Agreement implied the transition from the limitations based on the group balance of forces between NATO and Warsaw Treaty to individual limitations for each State Party based on national territorial ceilings for each category of the Treaty limited equipment.
The above-mentioned Agreement should have entered into force under the condition of its ratification by all 30 State Parties. Belarus was the first to ratify the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty on August 15, 2000. Afterwards the Agreement was ratified only by Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The instruments of ratification were deposited by Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. At the same time all efforts aimed at entering into force the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty and restoring the viability of the control regime on conventional forces in Europe appeared to be ineffective due to the depth of mutual contradictions between the State Parties.
In connection with the situation around the CFE Treaty, the Russian Federation postponed its implementation in 2007. Russia stopped all activities on the implementation of the CFE Treaty and related documents, including the exchange of information, notifications and inspections.
In 2011 the NATO countries and some other CFE State Parties also suspended exchange of CFE information, notifications and inspections with Russia as a countermeasure.
In 2011 and 2016 the Fourth and Fifth CFE Treaty Review Conferences took place in Vienna. The conferences concluded without any outcome documents.
At present, the Treaty continues to be in a deep crisis, and even its adapted version would no longer reflect the current realities of the politico-military situation on the European continent. At the same time, the CFE Treaty remains the only legally binding instrument in the field of arms control in the OSCE area.
The Republic of Belarus chaired the JCG from January to April 2016. From April 2022 the JCG will be chaired by Portual.