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President of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention: “It is too early to declare victory”



Geneva 3rd of March 2015 – The President of the international treaty banning anti-personnel mines has cautioned members of the United Nations’ Conference on Disarmament that “it is too early to declare victory” in ending the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines.

“Sizeable stocks still remain and in too many places minefields still represent a danger for the civilian populations,” said Belgium’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Bertrand de Crombrugghe. “More determination is needed from the governments – members and non-members of the Convention – to see destruction and clearance activities through to their full completion, if necessary, with assistance from outside.”

“The road is still long,” added Ambassador de Crombrugghe, who will preside over this year’s Fourteenth Meeting of the States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention. “It is the more intractable situations that remain to be resolved.”

Ambassador de Crombrugghe delivered his statement during the Conference on Disarmament’s annual high level segment. Others speaking during the high level segment also highlighted the successes of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and challenges that remain.

“The Ottawa Convention that bans anti-personnel mines is one of the most successful conventions in disarmament,” said Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, on 2 March. “Mine clearance and assistance to survivors have brought relief to affected people, countries and regions everywhere. But much remains to be done. Sweden will do its share and continue its longstanding and active engagement in mine action worldwide.”

“With 162 States Parties, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention is an unqualified success,” added the Netherlands’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders, also on 2 March. “At last year's successful review conference in Maputo, the States Parties agreed to clear all anti-personnel mines before 2025, thereby effectively ending the threat from these horrible weapons. They also agreed an action plan for moving forward on the outstanding issues. As the fifth-largest donor of mine-related assistance, the Netherlands is prepared to do its share.”

The Convention’s States Parties next meet to take stock efforts to demine and assist victims on 25-26 June 2015 in Geneva at the Convention’s annual intersessional meetings.

The Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force on 1 March 1999.

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Belgian Presidency of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention – Address to the Conference on Disarmament 3 March 2015 PDF 139KB