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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Releases > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Fact Sheets > 2001
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
July 25, 2001

Central American Security Commission Esquipulas Peace Agreement, August 6-7, 1987

In August 1987, the Central American Presidents agreed to implement a regional peace and democratization plan authored by former Costa Rican President Arias. Known as Esquipulas II, this plan established broad commitments regarding: 1) democratization; 2) cessation of internal hostilities; 3) amnesty; 4) ending aid to insurgents; 5) national reconciliation; and 6) negotiations on security, verification, control, and limitation of weapons. The agreement drew on the "Document of Objectives" put forward by the Contadora Group during the 1983-1987 Contradora process.

In 1990, the five Central American countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala reaffirmed their desire to begin negotiations in the areas of security, verification, arms control and reduction in accordance with the Esquipulas II agreements. At the first meeting in San Jose on July 31, 1990, these five countries agreed to a regular process to accomplish the stated goals of Esquipulas II. Included in this agreement was an assurance that armed forces are to be defensive and not offensive in nature. In addition, these five countries agreed to maintain a reasonable balance or a proportional and comprehensive equilibrium of weapons, equipment, and troops such that they do not constitute a threat to neighboring countries. Finally, they agreed to define a new model of security relations based on cooperation, communication, and prevention.

The five countries also agreed to create a body -- Central American Security Commission (CASC)-- that would meet periodically to negotiate an appropriate arms control arrangement. At the September 10, 1990, meeting, the CASC agreed to extend the United Nations presence in Central America, demobilize irregular and subversive movements, establish a regional mechanism to prevent crisis situations, and form a technical subcommittee to handle questions of military inventories and arms reduction. The Central Americans also requested help from the UN, OAS, and friendly countries to resolve the problems of mined border zones. CASC continues to meet.

In 1995, the Presidents of the Central American countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama agreed to a procedure on a new security agreement for Central America based on new concepts of security. In August 1995, a new draft treaty entitled 'Central American Democratic Security Treaty' was tabled for consideration. After several months of negotiations the draft treaty was signed on December 15, 1995, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The treaty strengthens democracy in the region, protects human rights, begins to eliminate narcotics and weapons trafficking, promotes sustained development, and encourages a regional arms control arrangement that promotes transparency, confidence, and long-term peace.



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