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Mexico to Prevent Arms Proliferation

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Mexico has a massive crime problem. Most of this is fed by, and feeds, the underground economy. The criminal underground thrives on money-laundering and arms purchases and sales.

In an effort to do something about it, the government of Mexico has signed on to the "Wassenaar Arrangement" on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. Not only has it signed on - Mexico must actively comply with the controls.

The Wassenaar Arrangement is a multilateral export control regime, that involves regulatory and administrative reforms to control arms exports and prevent accumulation of conventional arms.

The US State Department, in a release today, said "Mexico is a valued nonproliferation partner. We look forward to continuing our work with Mexico in the Wassenaar Arrangement to further our shared nonproliferation goals."

The strange-sounding name, "Wassenaar Arrangement," comes from the place where an agreement was reached in 1995, to begin multilateral co-operation. The town is Wassenaar, in the Hague, Netherlands.

41 states currently participate in the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is open to any country that wishes to participate and comply with specific criteria. Each new member that wishes to join must demonstrate its compliance, and to be admitted, be approved by all existing members. Compliance involves maintaining non-proliferation policies and appropriate national export controls for the arms or sensitive industrial equipment they produce or export.

The decision-making body of the Wassenaar Arrangement is called the Plenary, which meets once a year in December, according to the organization's website. They do have subsidiary bodies, that meet periodically, as required. The Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria, where most meetings are held.

The organization's deliberations are kept in confidence, and are not open to be reviewed. All decisions are made by consensus of the members.

Not everything is secret. The "Control Lists," that list munitions and "Dual Use Goods and Technologies," are displayed on the website.

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