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Invitation Letter


Geneva, 5 December 2003To: The Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Geneva and New York of the States Parties to the ConventionThe Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Geneva and New York of the States not Parties to the ConventionInterested non-governmental and international organizations

Excellencies and Distinguished Colleagues,

On behalf of the Co-Chairs of the Standing Committees established by the States Parties to the Convention, it is our pleasure to invite you to participate in the first session of the 2003-2004 meetings of the Standing Committees. These meetings will take place as follows:

9-12 February 2004
Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)
Room A, avenue de la Paix 7bis (WMO Building)

(Please note that on 13 February in Geneva, the First Preparatory Meeting in advance of the First Review Conference will be held. A separate notice for this meeting will be distributed by the Executive Secretary of the Review Conference at the end of January 2004.)

The Fifth Meeting of the States Parties (5MSP) "emphasized the value and importance of the Intersessional Work Programme and highlighted the need to continue to focus with greater clarity on the areas most directly related to the core humanitarian aims." In this regard, the 5MSP "called upon States Parties requiring assistance for mine clearance, those requiring assistance in meeting the needs of landmine victims, and those in the process of destroying stockpiled anti-personnel mines to ensure that prior to the First Review Conference plans are in place consistent with the Convention's deadlines, to take concrete steps to implement these plans, and to use the opportunity presented by the Intersessional Work Programme to present their problems, plans, progress and priorities for assistance."

We are pleased that the Co-Chairs have responded to this call by establishing agendas that provide mine-affected States Parties and those in the process of destroying stockpiles with sufficient opportunities to share information on their plans and needs for assistance. In addition, the Co-Chairs have provided opportunities for other States and relevant organizations to highlight how they can support implementation of the Convention on the part of those who may require assistance.

The 5MSP also called upon States Parties "to continue to share information and views, particularly with respect to articles 1, 2 and 3, with a view to developing understandings on various matters by the First Review Conference." In addition, the 5MSP issued calls related to resource mobilization, universalization and timely reporting in accordance with Article 7 of the Convention. The relevant Co-Chairs have heeded these calls by providing a forum for the States Parties and others, in an informal manner, to share views on these matters.

Enclosed you will find a programme for the February meetings of the Standing Committees. As well, to assist all actors in preparing for these meetings, the Co-Chairs have developed a package of background documents that may be of use to you. We would encourage you to review in particular the enclosed Co-Chairs' suggestions on ways to prepare for these meetings in order to maximize the opportunities presented by them.

In order to facilitate your logistical and administrative preparations for the February meetings, please find enclosed a registration form and a document containing important administrative information. You can register on-line or by faxing completed registration forms to the GICHD. Either way, please register as soon as possible and no later than 2 February 2004. In order to assist the Co-Chairs in their preparations, please notify the Implementation Support Unit (isu@gichd.ch) should you desire to intervene on various agenda items.

We look forward to seeing you at the meetings in February and we remain,

Sincerely yours,

Ambassador Laxanachantorn
On behalf of H.E. Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand,
President of the Fifth Meeting of the
States Parties
Ambassador Martin Dahinden
Director of the GICHD