Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 21, December 1997
Ottawa Landmines Convention: Treaty Signing Conference and Mine Action ForumSigning Conference for the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Production, Transfer and Stockpiling of Anti-personnel Mines and their Destruction, and Mine Action Forum, Ottawa, 2-4 December
Editor's note: unless otherwise stated, the source of the following extracts is the Canadian Government's web-site, devoted to the Conference and the landmines issue.
At the end of the Conference, 4 December, the following 123 States had signed the Convention:
Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lesotho, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Niue, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Editor's note: During the Conference, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) submitted a letter of intention to ratify.
Signatories & Supporters
Statement by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, 3 December "We have come together today to bring an end to the landmine epidemic. The sting of death that remains long after the guns grow quiet, long after the battles are over. ...
I welcome you to an historic occasion. For the first time, the majority of the nations of the world will agree to ban a weapon which has been in military use by almost every country in the world. For the first time, a global partnership of governments, international institutions and non-governmental groups has come together - with remarkable speed and spirit - to draft the treaty we will sign today. For the first time, those who fear to walk in their fields, those who cannot till their lands, those who cannot return to their own homes - all because of landmines - once again can begin to hope. ...
The work of many nations, groups and individuals has brought us to this moment. The International Committee of the Red Cross, whose surgeons have seen too many bodies shattered by landmines, offered early leadership. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines drove the cause with their enthusiasm and commitment. The late Princess of Wales seized the attention of the world when she exposed the human cost of landmines. And Secretary-General Kofi Annan showed courageous leadership. ...
At the first G-7 Summit I attended as Prime Minister, in Naples in 1994, I raised the Canadian concern over the landmine epidemic. In 1995, our foreign minister, André Ouellet committed Canada to the cause of banning landmines. And in 1996, Lloyd Axworthy brought new energy, commitment and new urgency to world action. He convened a conference in Ottawa because we were not satisfied with what had been done to end the extermination in slow motion caused by landmines.
We knew that it was not good enough to end the landmine epidemic at some distant future date. Not with a hundred million mines planted all over the world. Not with thousands of innocent civilians - men, women and children - dying every year. We knew we had to act. And we did.
At the end of that October conference, on behalf of Canada, Lloyd Axworthy challenged the world to return here just fourteen months later to sign a treaty banning the use, transfer, production and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines. His challenge marked a breakthrough. A breakthrough that has led directly to this historic moment. Back then, we believed if only a handful of countries came to sign, it would be an achievement. Today and tomorrow, more than 100 countries will sign this treaty. I want to say to Lloyd - your government is proud of you and your country is proud of you. ...
I will never forget my discussions with prime ministers and presidents as they grappled with the consequences of signing this treaty, and my delight when they said that their governments would be in Ottawa in December. Of course, not all will be here, but even in the case of many who are absent, there is a new commitment to ban exports and end production. A commitment that would not be there if this conference were not taking place.
I give you my commitment that Canada will continue to work to persuade those who are not here to sign. We must always recognize that this treaty is open to all but can be hostage to none.
Canada, my country, has never had landmine killing fields. But in this century Canadian soldiers and peacekeepers have walked and died in those fields. As Secretary General Annan knows so well, over 200 UN peacekeepers have died as landmine victims. ...
...the commitment of the Government of Canada does not end with hosting this conference. I am proud to say that, by unanimous consent, both houses of our Parliament have ratified the treaty, and it has been proclaimed as law, making Canada the first nation in the world to ratify this historic convention.
On behalf of our government, I am also proud to announce today the establishment of a $100 million fund to implement this treaty. This means bringing it to life; making it truly global; clearing the mines; helping the victims. Both with immediate medical care and long-term help rebuilding their lives.
I know other countries are making similar contributions. I call on all countries to put forward the resources needed to rid the world of these buried killing machines - once and for all."
Statement by Lloyd Axworthy, Foreign Minister, to the Opening Session of the Mine Action Forum, 2 December
"Many of you came to Ottawa last October for our previous landmines conference. Since then, it has been a year of frantic activity and full court press diplomacy. From Maputo to Tokyo, Vienna to Ashkabad, Kempton Park to Bonn, Manila to New Delhi, Saan'a to Brussels and Sydney to Oslo - the world's governments and peoples have been engaged in an extraordinary global effort to ban anti-personnel mines. And we have succeeded.
When I issued the challenge, in this room, just over a year ago to return to Ottawa to sign a treaty banning landmines, I confess to being unsure of the results, but thought that it was a risk worth taking. I thought there was a real desire and real possibility that a treaty could be negotiated, but frankly I did not dare hope for such an overwhelming response. But the risk was worth taking - the results are here for all to see. Over 100 States will sign the treaty tomorrow - more opening signatures than almost any other treaty ever negotiated. And they will be signing a strong treaty, with no exceptions or loopholes. This treaty is a testament to the political will and determination that has inspired this process from the very beginning. ...
The treaty is a great achievement in and of itself. But it also has a broader significance. To understand this we should ask ourselves: Why did it work? How can we harness the new forces and tools of diplomacy, which brought us this far, to ensure that the words of the treaty become a reality? What broader lessons can be drawn from our experience over the past year and applied to building human security in the next century?
I see the landmines campaign as a defining moment in three respects:
None of this would have been possible 10 or even 5 years ago. Until recently, there was little space for individuals or non-governmental groups in international diplomacy, particularly in the realm of traditional security interests. As a result, the human cost of landmines and of other threats to individual security were largely invisible to the international community.
But in the past few years, international organizations and meetings have opened up to a range of non-State actors. State sovereignty has become more diffuse and no longer the sole domain of governments. Civil society has demanded and earned a place at the table. Democracies are in the ascendancy. Globalization and a revolution in information technology have resulted in a 'global commons,' in which ideas move across borders at unprecedented rates. People power has moved onto the international stage. ...
Let me be clear: I am not advocating such partnerships as some sort of 'feel good' diplomacy. I am advocating them because they work. It is 'good' diplomacy. The landmines campaign worked because it brought together not only mine-producing and mine-affected States, but also humanitarian and non-governmental organizations active in the field and landmine survivors. It worked because new synergies were created. This was not simply a question of consulting NGOs or seeking their views. We have moved well beyond that. What I am talking about is a full working partnership between governments and civil groups, both of which bring their comparative advantages and particular capacities to the process. ...
For all these reasons, what has become known as the Ottawa Process is, I believe, symbolic of a profound and lasting change in the conduct of international relations. But of course it also has an immediate, very concrete effect: the signing of a convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and their destruction. ...
Forty countries must ratify the convention for it to enter into force and for its words to become reality. Canada's Prime Minister will present Canada's instrument of ratification to the Secretary-General of the UN tomorrow. I understand that several other countries are also in a position to ratify now. Our goal should be to get the full 40 ratifications as soon as possible.
How about a year from now? Does that sound familiar?
After the convention enters into force, we have four years to destroy stockpiles. This can be done. But it will require sharing of information, expertise and technology.
We have 10 years after entry into force to clear mined areas. Until then, they must be surveyed, marked, monitored, mapped and fenced off. Some of the worst-affected countries are the least able to cope with the slow and costly task of mine clearance. At the same time, some mine-affected countries have invaluable experience to offer, based on their own extraordinary efforts to clear their lands. To meet the 10-year deadline, we will have to co-operate and co-ordinate our efforts in global mine awareness and de-mining. ...
Under the convention, we have taken on a weighty responsibility: 'to put an end to the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines' throughout the world. We have taken on a commitment through the treaty: a solemn, binding obligation to deal definitively with the anti-personnel mine crisis. We have given our word. We must now work together to meet our new obligations.
As if that were not enough, by completing this urgent humanitarian task, we are also, I believe, breaking a new path for the conduct of international relations. What is true for anti-personnel mines must hold true for all weapons of war: our citizens will no longer accept weapons that target civilians and wreak havoc in the daily lives of individuals."
Statement by Jody Williams, Coordinator, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, 3 December
"I have done an awful lot of interviews in the last few weeks, and I am always asked if we expected this. Certainly not! Who would have expected that within such a short time the governments of the world would have responded to a band of NGOs calling for a ban on the weapon in widespread use, a weapon that most military don't think about as different from all the other weapons they use - it's just another one in the arsenal.
It wasn't until the voice of civil society was raised to such a high degree that governments began to listen, that change began to move the world, with lightning and unexpected speed. ...
Had governments not begun to say the scary words 'We need to ban the weapon', it would not have happened. And gradually, they did take steps, and gradually the base was built to make the governments of the world believe that they actually could step outside of the normal diplomatic channels and do something different.
We have already heard many times praise for the leadership of Canada. It is very well deserved. It is leadership, however, built on the stepping stone of many - as I said, Belgium, Norway and Austria. ...
Without all of these people working together in the firm belief that they could change the world, Foreign Minister Axworthy would not have been able to make the challenge, and even then it was a scary challenge. We have talked a lot about how horrified the diplomatic community was with that challenge. ...
I have also been asked in the last few days in the interviews, 'Ah, everybody is here, they're signing, everybody is going to feel good, and they're all going to walk away and think the job is done'.
I am also pleased to say that the leadership continues. Perhaps if this were just a celebratory ceremony of signing and everybody got to shake hands and pat each other on the back and have good photo opportunities to take home, we could be a little concerned. But I think the cynics of the world, who did not believe the Ottawa process would bear this fruit, should also look at the other part of what is happening here in Ottawa.
We are planning for the future. We will come out of this conference with a clear, defined plan of action to carry this treaty forth to reality. It will not fail. Canada has committed to a continued leadership with Norway, South Africa, the governments who really wanted to see a ban happen, are committed to making the treaty have teeth, are committed to removing the mines from the world and helping the victims of the world. We will not fail.
That leadership has helped the rest of the world come on-board. I was very pleased this morning to hear the Prime Minister mention that 125 governments are prepared to sign this treaty. I remember a year ago after the challenge, when we were all exhausted and a handful of us went to dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant, with one of my personal heroes, Bob Lawson, with the Canadian Government, the corporate ally that we always mention, our key contact in government.
We went to dinner with Bob and we did a little betting, wondering how many governments would actually sign this treaty in a year, because the Prime Minister had said, we'll sign if it's even a handful. We certainly didn't want to see a handful, but I thought maybe 36 - the highest number was maybe 75. But here we have 125 governments recognizing that the tide of history has changed, recognizing that together we are a super power. It's a new definition of super power: It is not one; it is everybody. You are all part of being a super power!
The post-Cold War world is different, and we have made it different, and we should be proud we are a super power. Thank you very much for being here. ..."
Statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN Press Release SG/SM/6410/Rev.1*, 3 December
"The occasion which brings us together here will mark a milestone. History will remember that, on 3 December 1997, more than 100 governments solemnly pledged to refrain from any further production, sale or use of these hideous instruments of death otherwise known as landmines.
You can take pride in being among the first to sign this important Convention. ...
The global alliance that created this Convention is an alliance made up of individuals and governments, of grass-roots movements and global humanitarian organizations.
It is an alliance that has shamed the world and enlightened it, unmasked its excuses and revealed its potential. It has held up a mirror to us all, revealing the wickedness of human folly and the wisdom of human courage. ...
As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am proud and privileged to assume the duties of depositary of the Convention and pledge to carry out this responsibility with passion and care. ...
Your success is a welcome reminder that one does not have to be a global superpower to affect the future of international peace and security.
The Ottawa Convention is a landmark step in the history of disarmament. About this, there can be no doubt. I am confident that it will provide the final impetus for a universal ban, encompassing all mine-producing and mine-affected countries.
It marks the reversal of the tide of random violence and destruction that begins when a mine is planted and ends only when it is removed.
We must now turn our energies and our imaginations to the cause of mine-clearance, so that this victory today does not become a hollow one.
We must ensure that the technology and resources needed to rid the world of mines are finally and lastingly made available. That includes providing countries unable to afford the cost of destroying their stockpiles with the means to do so. ...
I understand, Mr. Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Axworthy, that plans are already under way for an Ottawa 2 initiative. It will mobilize international, coordinated support for assistance to mine victims, as well as for mine-clearing. I warmly applaud this initiative and pledge that the United Nations system will mobilize all its resources in its support. Already, more than 6,000 deminers are employed in United Nations and United Nations-supported mine-clearance programmes in seven countries. These programmes include mine surveys and mine awareness programmes to reduce casualties, the training of local deminers, and the establishment of demining schools.
At Headquarters in New York, I have merged all the landmine functions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, as part of my reform process.
This reorganization will enhance the efficiency of our response to humanitarian demining needs, as well as to our partners' requests for cooperation. It will make the United Nations as full and effective a partner in the fight against landmines as we can be. ..."
Statement by Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2 December
"When representatives of more than 120 governments assemble in Ottawa on December 3, to sign a treaty banning the use of anti-personnel mines, they will take a significant step toward ending one of the terrible scourges of modern times. It is a welcome move, one long overdue. It is my wish that in due time all of the governments concerned will ratify this important document and make the world totally free of landmines.
UNHCR's concern with landmines is directly linked to its mandate to protect refugees and to seek durable solutions for them. Voluntary repatriation has always been the preferred solution. However, UNHCR has the responsibility of ensuring that it is carried out in safety. The protection of returnees requires that the areas to which the refugees are going back are free of mines so that they can resume normal lives.
In war and peace, the victims of these terrible devices are mainly civilians. They maim or kill more than 20,000 people each year, even in areas where the shooting has ended. There are an estimated 110 million anti-personnel mines scattered in 70 countries from Afghanistan to Angola, from El Salvador to Somalia. These devices cost anywhere from $3 to $30 each. The expense of neutralizing them ranges from $300 to $1,000. Under current conditions, experts say it will take 1,100 years to clear the entire world of mines provided no additional mines are planted.
Through the years, UNHCR has supported campaigns by non-governmental organizations and concerned individuals to stop the production, stockpiling, sale, transfer or export of these inhumane weapons of war. It has supported programs to locate and clear anti-personnel mines in Cambodia, Somalia and Mozambique and raise awareness among refugees and returnees of the dangers of these hidden killers in the fields and roads and along jungle trails.
In 1995, UNHCR announced a boycott of companies that manufacture or sell anti-personnel mines. Since then, UNHCR has required companies it does business with to declare that they are not engaged in the production or sale of landmines or their components. In 1996, UNHCR awarded the Nansen Medal to Handicap International, a humanitarian agency that has been at the forefront of the campaign against anti-personnel mines, for outstanding services to the cause of refugees.
I strongly believe that the total ban on the manufacture and use of anti-personnel mines is a vital cause which governments must support. When this is accomplished, there is still the larger task of repairing the evils that these deadly devices have produced. Clearing anti-personnel mines and rehabilitating their victims remain a priority on the humanitarian agenda. They require no less than a total commitment."
Statement by Georges Chikoti, Deputy Foreign Minister
"It is...a big consolation for me and my delegation, coming from a victim country, to know that, by the time we leave Ottawa we will have the treaty signed by more than 120 countries.
This assures us that we will continue to be together with the international community in this struggle for the eradication of this deadly weapon, so that we can engage the process of national reconstruction and rehabilitation of our debilitated society for a sustainable development. ...
The paradox for my country is that the Angolans do not produce this weapon nor have any technology to produce it, but the war situation imposed upon Angola, first by the colonial power and later on by the apartheid regime in the Cold War context, have made Angola a major victim of the landmine phenomenon with an estimate of 5 to 15 million landmines planted, thus giving us one of the highest rates of amputees in the world; 70,000 people out of a population of 11 million to which we have to add more than 400 thousand orphans and about 3.5 million people displaced from their original homes because of the war.
This has provoked a disastrous economic and social context debilitating the government's development programs and economic reforms for the entire country. ...
May I, at this point, urge all parties of the present treaty, that Article No. 6 of this convention is dedicated to international cooperation, which not only stresses the importance of exchanging technologies and scientific material for humanitarian purposes but also assistance for social rehabilitation and economic reintegration. It is further stressed that contributions can be made to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for assistance in mine clearing.
My government endorses the treaty in full, but with a particular emphasis on this chapter...
First, we need to mobilize resources to finance all demining activities and improve the technologies that will allow us to destroy a maximum number of anti-personnel landmines in a short time.
Secondly, we need resources that will allow the social integration and rehabilitation of the victims so that they have a minimum of conditions to carry acceptable standards of living, both in rural and in urban areas. ..."
Statement by Alexander Downer, Foreign Minister, 3 December
"Signing the Ottawa Treaty is the quickest, most absolute way for a government to commit itself to this objective, and it is right that Australia, with its strong humanitarian record, should take this high road to a global landmines ban. The Australian Government in April 1996 committed Australia to support a global ban on anti-personnel landmines and imposed an indefinite suspension on the operational use of these weapons by the Australian Defence Force, even though Australia - like the great majority of the other nations which will sign the Ottawa Treaty today and tomorrow - has had no association with the indiscriminate or irresponsible use of landmines. ...
...the momentum which has built up behind the landmines ban issue - and to which the Ottawa Process has made such an important contribution - must not be allowed to dissipate, with those countries still outside the tent.
We must not end up with a permanent partial solution to the global landmines crisis. ...
...the Conference on Disarmament remains the world's primary global arms control negotiating forum. It should be tasked to contribute further - to international security and human security in this area. Most importantly - the key countries outside the Ottawa Treaty are members of the Conference on Disarmament. Australia is committed to redoubling its efforts in that forum so that negotiations on the landmines ban issue get under way in 1998. I urge you to support that effort. ..."
Statement by Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
"The conclusion of the anti-personnel mine ban convention is a milestone event. It brings a political process to the successful end to which my country has been fully committed. I am proud that Austria was among the few countries which have worked with Canada and the ICBL from the first beginnings of what was to become the Ottawa Process.
Already in 1995 Austria was pursuing a total ban. In summer 1995, we achieved our aim by destroying all our considerable stocks of anti-personnel mines, making Austria possibly the first comparable country to realize de facto a total ban of anti-personnel landmines.
A campaign organized by the Austrian Red Cross Society received during 1996 the support of 120,000 signatures in favor of a law banning anti-personnel mines. Such a law entered into force at the beginning of this year. ...
I just came back from Bosnia and Herzegovina, where 16 countries have met in Sarajevo in the framework of the Central European Initiative. I am profoundly shocked by the legacy of the four years of conflict: over one million landmines are said of having been emplaced in this country. This scourge is causing an average of 50 casualities per month of which ten are usually fatal. Considerable efforts in mine clearance have already been deployed, but we must maintain our commitment to allow for safe return of displaced and refugee populations in the region.
The urgency cannot be stressed enough: year after year 20 times more anti-personnel mines are laid than cleared. Given this most alarming trend and the huge number of deployed mines - something like 110 million in 68 countries - a total ban is the only means to stop this vicious circle.
Time was therefore of the essence for the negotiations of the total ban convention. The on-going mine crisis is taking a toll of about 2,000 additional mine victims every month. Given the lack of prospect to achieve this objective in other fora, a new forum had to be found that would allow us to create the international legal instrument with the required urgency: the Ottawa Process.
Austria provided the draft for the treaty and held extensive bilateral as well as multilateral consultations on the text with all States interested in the goal. With the input of a great number of States from all regions, the draft was gradually further refined and the treaty text reached in its final form at the Oslo Conference.
I am satisfied that we succeeded in preserving the integrity of the treaty. It bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of all anti-personnel mines. It is really a total ban - no exceptions, no reservations, no loopholes. It sets time limits for destruction of stockpiles, for demining existing mined areas and incorporates an innovative compliance mechanism. It provides a framework for international cooperation in mine-clearance and victim assistance. And it nevertheless is simple and clear, facilitating its implementation. But most importantly, for the first time, a weapon in widespread use over decades throughout the world is prohibited because of its appalling humanitarian effects.
Public abhorrence of the devastating consequences of anti-personnel mines has been the driving force behind the elaboration of this convention. Civil society was inspiring this process in which [it] has been proved that civil society can meaningfully interact with States, not only in building up public pressure, but also at the negotiating table.
The Ottawa Process has been propelled by a group of medium-sized and small countries that cuts across most traditional dividing lines. Their diversity and cross-regional representation became an advantage. United by their firm conviction and a common cause, they established a strong partnership that led a successful global campaign. ...
As a staunch supporter of the total ban, I invite my colleagues here to join Austria in its undertaking to ratify the convention in 1998. Rapid ratification is not a form of beauty contest among States, but the only way to speed up entry into force. We need 40 ratifications and then 6 months to trigger entry into force. By achieving this aim within a year we testify to our commitment and increase the political momentum. ...
We must also acknowledge that international treaties do not start out with universality, mostly not even with a comparable number of signatories. And we the signatories, a clear majority of States, have the political momentum on our side. Already during the past weeks we could experience the persuasive power of our cause. I am confident that additional States will join us in the future, as long as we continue to actively propagate a total ban. ...
International cooperation should foster the implementation of the treaty also abroad. Therefore a European Seminar on the implementation of treaty obligations in the armed forces will take place in Vienna next summer. Austria is inviting also participants from European countries that have not yet signed the convention, since issues like changes in military doctrines and cost-effective, environmentally safe mine destruction technologies have a bearing on the national decision-making process. ..."
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Statement by Dr. Jadranko, Foreign Minister, 4 December
"Bosnia and Herzegovina has more reasons than most of us here to welcome this Treaty. With approximately more than one million mines still remaining laid in my country, 80% of which are anti-personnel, almost one-third of the Bosnia and Herzegovina territory is not accessible. The mines have become an omnipresent part of and threat to our daily life. The full extent of the problem is not known, which makes our task doubly difficult.
Since the war ended, over 200 citizens died as a result of mine strikes. There were almost 800 civilians injured by mines. Throughout the last year, mine accidents in Bosnia and Herzegovina were at the average rate of 50 a month. At least 20% of those who were killed or injured were children.
The road to recovery of my country has many obstacles. Industry, agriculture and people's ability to return to their houses and subsist are all affected.
All the parties in our recent conflict used anti-personnel mines; and all those parties continue to suffer the consequences. And that is why all the parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina now support this Treaty. Because we experienced what the use of anti-personnel mines means and we know that we should do everything not to allow this to happen again. ...
I am also realistic in what Bosnia and Herzegovina can achieve.
Firstly, we intend to destroy the anti-personnel mine stockpiles and production facilities; certainly within four years and even earlier if possible.
Secondly, we intend to continue our efforts, using our armies as well as civilian deminers, to lift and clear the mines that have been laid. The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina has established a special Commission for those activities with representatives of all three parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are aiming to comply with the 10 year time limit, and do not want to consider an extension yet but the reality of our problem may make this the only solution.
Finally, we have embarked on a comprehensive legislation programme to ratify this treaty so that its provisions become the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and applicable to all of our citizens. But it will be a long and arduous task to rid Bosnia and Herzegovina of mines. We are most grateful for the efforts of the International Community to help us in this aim, both through the loans made by the World Bank donations from a number of countries and the work of the UN Mine Action Centre, which during the last year has set up the national database and co-ordinated all aspects of humanitarian demining. Without this help, we would have been unable to begin this task in earnest. In a country as devastated as ours, such assistance is going to have to be a feature of our programme for the foreseeable future. I call from this place of the necessity of your continued assistance to my country's efforts to get rid of this awful threat."
Statement by Mr. Slav Danev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to Canada
"My country has gone a long way to the decision to sign this Convention at the present Conference and has given a series of examples of its sincere wish for solving the humanitarian problems caused by the APM's indiscriminate use. Since May 1996, the Bulgarian government has strictly adhered to a three-year moratorium on the export of APM. Bulgaria signed the Amendments of 3 May 1996 to Protocol II, annexed to the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects. Unilaterally, Bulgaria has undertaken clearance of its anti-personnel minefields laid in the past - during the years preceding the end of the Cold War - which is a long and costly process.
Bulgaria's participation in all meetings and conferences of the Ottawa Process as an observer was due to some reservations with regard to the initial draft of the Convention. Some of our major concerns were accommodated during the final negotiations in Oslo - which permitted the Bulgarian government to take the decision to sign this Convention without further delay as a clear demonstration of the new approach to national and regional security with a view of our full integration in the Euro-Atlantic security structures and the European Union. ...
We welcome the intention of the launch of an Ottawa Process II as a continuation of the APM prohibition campaign. At the same time we want to stress that the obligations under the Convention require considerable financial resources and my country would need adequate support both on a bilateral and multilateral basis in order to implement the activities related to mine clearance and destruction of APM stockpiles. ..."
Central American Group
Central American Group Declaration, 'Central America 2000 Mine-Free Zone,' issued 3 December
"The President Pro Tem of the Central American Group, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Guatemala, reiterates as spokesman for the region, the concern of Central America regarding the debilitating problem of land mines which were sown indiscriminately in its territories, whose evil effects have fallen primarily on innocent civilians and which have brought grave consequences and long-lasting socio-economic plagues to the affected areas.
We recognize the work done by El Salvador in implementing with its own resources a national demining plan; also, we thank their support and solidarity with the demining programs underway in other nations of the region.
We are convinced of the necessity to eradicate this problem to return to the affected peoples, the security and confidence that are essential for their productive labor, we reiterate our joint commitment in this effort to advance toward regional integration.
We congratulate the important responsibility that Central America has assumed in its constant denunciation of the use of these criminal devices, in the implementation of its demining programs in its own territories, as well as in their efforts to include in every available opportunity and international instruments the humanitarian aspects of the problem.
We thank in a special way the generous collaboration of the international community in Central America's demining programs and highlighting the participation of the Organization of American States, which is highly involved in this kind of operation. ...
We call on all nations to add their voice in favor of the total eradication of anti-personnel mines by signing and ratifying the Convention.
For all of the above, Central America, aware of its historic commitment to its people and the future generations of Central Americans, reaffirms on this occasion its commitment to our region to become a zone free of anti-personnel mines by the year 2000."
Editor's note: unofficial translation from the original Spanish.
Statement by Dr. Ivo Sanader, Deputy Foreign Minister
"The Republic of Croatia is neither a producer nor an importer or exporter of landmines and from the very beginning of the 'Ottawa Process' it attached a great importance to the problem of their prohibition.
Let me remind [you] that at this stage, Croatia is approaching a successful solution of its last remaining open political issue - the one of peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia - the area around the Danube. We are proud to stress that the joint effort by the Croatian Government and the UN has brought us to the completion of what will certainly prove to be one of the most successful UN peace-keeping missions - the United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia.
However, this process did not proceed without difficulties. As a result of the 1991 aggression and war, this particular area, as well as other formerly occupied Croatian territories, were gravely affected by the problem of landmines.
It is estimated that as many as 3 million landmines and unexploded devices are still present in limited and clearly identified areas within the formerly occupied parts of Croatia. More than 700 people were victims of landmines, most of whom are civilians. The surface contaminated by landmines is estimated to be 1,300 square kilometres, which amounts to 2,300 mines per every square kilometre. Such a situation causes great difficulties, particularly in a predominately agricultural region such as Eastern Slavonia, which has a broad negative effect on the economy and hampers the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes. The process of effective and urgent demining is therefore of enormous importance to us.
As a precondition for full normalization in the war affected areas, the demining process is already under way and it is carried out in accordance with the highest international standards. In 1996, 160 square kilometres have been demined of 5,653 mines and unexploded devices which were found and destroyed. In the first half of 1997, 30 square kilometres were demined, with over 3,000 mines and unexploded devices found and destroyed. The UN Mine Action Centre was established last year, and its operational phase is to be completed by the end of this year. In the meantime, the Government Commission on Demining Issues has been established with representatives of several ministries and it is expected that by January 1998 the Croatian Mine Centre will start operating as well.
It is important to mention that nearly the entire financial burden of demining is borne by Croatia alone. However, financial support of the international community would not only be appreciated but also necessary for carrying out the process effectively. According to the information received by the UN Voluntary Trust Fund, from 1994 until 1997, the UN contributed 3.1 million US$ to the demining in the Republic of Croatia and it is expected that the EU will contribute a further 1.8 million US$. However, according to the UN estimates, the optimal needs of the Republic of Croatia in 1997 will be 15 million US$, and in 1998, 20 million. According to the most optimistic estimates, the demining process will take at least ten years.
It is also for this reason that we express our satisfaction with the fact that this Convention pays attention to the mine clearance problem and foresees international co-operation and assistance in that particular field."
Statement by Dr. Fecadu Gadamu, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary to Canada
"Ethiopia is well aware [that] the importance of [a] total ban of land mines, while being a great achievement, is not an end in itself. There remains the long, arduous and expensive task of clearing the mines that have been planted till now. Ethiopia believes that assistance for demining should form the most important part of the agreement. It is gratifying to note that the agreement includes a comprehensive provision for assistance for mine clearing and victim assistance.
Ethiopia has been one of those countries that has been affected by anti-personnel land mines. During the thirty years of civil war, according to the Ethiopian demining experts, about 1.5 million of these deadly weapons had been planted in different parts of the country. The Ethiopian Government, fully cognizant of the gravity of the problem has identified mine clearance as one of the priority areas in terms of ensuring durable peace and tackling the challenges of sustainable development. To this end, it has launched companies by which it was able to remove about 74,860 different kinds of mines from the various parts of the country, especially from the rural areas, where the majority of Ethiopian people live. However, in this endeavor, the government is facing shortage of demining equipment, vehicles, and most importantly, adequate funds. Ethiopia has continuously appealed to the international community at large and to its development partners for technical and financial assistance for demining activities. Thus, the government of Ethiopia would like to take this opportunity to urge strongly to this conference gathering to appeal to the international community to increase its support to the national sub-regional and regional mine clearance efforts.
Ethiopia's stance for the total ban of anti-personnel land mines emanates from its firm dedication to peace and stability. Ethiopia does not produce mines, and since the end of the civil war, in May 1991, has not acquired mines. It has neither the intention nor the need to use anti-personnel mines, which were left behind by the previous regime. ..."
Statement by Edi Sudradjat, Minister for Defence and Security, 4 December
"Ever since the draft Convention was first discussed in Vienna on February 1997, Indonesia has participated actively in the 'Ottawa Process' as an observer. This clearly reflects Indonesia's commitment as stated at the 51st UNGA to support the efforts to pursue vigorously an effective, legally binding international agreement to ban landmines of resolution 51/45 S.
After thoroughly examining the technical aspects of anti-personnel landmines, including its humanitarian effects particularly to the civilians, Indonesia has decided on 17 November 1997 to join the majority of the international community by signing the [Convention]...
The decision to sign the Convention is a testimony of the commitment of the Government of Indonesia to the main objective of the Convention namely to put an end to the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel landmines, that kill and maim hundreds of people every week, mostly innocent civilians. The Government of Indonesia also fully supports the principle that the use of anti-personnel landmines obstructs national development, particularly economic development, and inhibits the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons.
We, in this regard, are strongly supportive to the creation of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance. Indonesia is among those countries that have contributed to the Trust Fund allocated for the demining efforts in Cambodia.
With the signing of this Convention, Indonesia hopes that eventually all major countries which traditionally produce, use and export, as well as mine-infested countries will join as parties to the Convention to ensure the universal adherence and effective implementations."
Statement by Dr. M. H. Adeli, Ambassador to Canada
"On behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran I wish to congratulate the government of Canada for undertaking this initiative to host this important Conference on Anti-Personnel Mines. We are all aware of the magnitude of the humanitarian dimension of APMs as about 70 countries around the world are infected with 100 million mines, which having been laid decades ago, continue to take innocent lives. ...
We face bitter experience in this regard in our country. According to UN sources, during eight years of the imposed war, over 16 million land mines were planted inside Iranian territories, by invading forces, covering a vast agriculture area occupied in different stages of the war. Since the end of the war in 1988, a large number of our civilians as well as mine clearing military personnel have been killed or maimed by APMs.
Having made these general remarks, I would like to state my government's position on a number of major aspects of this convention:
Statement by Keizo Obuchi, Foreign Minister, 3 December
"Japan has been active in the regulation of landmines. In June this year Japan took the lead in concluding the amended protocol on landmines of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The decision to sign the Ottawa Treaty was not an easy one because the signing of this milestone treaty is very closely related to our national defense. But as a country making vigorous demining efforts, Japan has made the decision to sign it for the high cause of humanitarianism.
In the Post-Ottawa-Process Japan hopes that as many nations as possible will sign this treaty. In the meantime, if we are to aim at a universal and effective banning of landmines, treaty negotiation should be started as early as possible at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Serious consideration should be given to an approach to begin such a negotiation taking up banning of export of landmines as a first step.
Further, Japan believes that the problem of small arms such as automatic rifles requires similar attention as landmines. Japan will actively pursue solutions to this problem. It plans to host a workshop on this issue in Tokyo next year.
Japan held the Tokyo Conference on Anti-Personnel Landmines last March. The Conference agreed on guidelines covering three areas: mine clearance, development of technologies, and assistance to surviving victims.
Japan has decided to extend ¥10 billion in assistance over five years for its implementation of these guidelines. Through this, Japan will provide equipment and technology for mine clearance, technical cooperation for the making of artificial limbs and vocational training, facilities and materials for medical treatment and rehabilitation, and so on. ...
A conference will be held in Cambodia for experience sharing among mine-infected countries next May. Japan believes that the experiences of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre can provide valuable know-how for other countries suffering from mines, and it intends to support the conference. In addition, in a follow-up to last year's meeting , the 2nd NGO Tokyo Conference will be held on 31 January and 1 February next year. Japan looks forward to further growth of international cooperation at grass root level. ...
The opening for signature of the Ottawa Treaty is a vital step forward for the international community toward the goal of zero victim of landmines. The Treaty's signing should be a new starting point toward that end. With this in mind, I name the way how the Government of Japan will tackle this problem the 'Zero Victim Program'. Japan is determined to work positively on this matter in cooperation with other countries so that this goal of 'zero victim' can be achieved as early as possible in the 21st century."
Statement by Dr. Leonardo Santos Samão, Foreign Minister
"Mozambique went through a period of 30 years of wars which destroyed most of the country's social and economic fabric, and left a heavy legacy of anti-personnel landmines. It is estimated that in Mozambique there are about 2 million landmines, whose location has not yet been fully identified. Recent studies suggest that at the pace which the demining process is unfolding, the landmine-clearing operations shall last between 47 to 160 years to cover the whole territory. The estimated cost during the said period would amount to approximately 1.5 billion US dollars.
The Mozambican Government is highly sensitive to the dramatic effects of the landmines, both on people and economy, and regards demining as a priority. Therefore, with the end of the war of destabilization in Mozambique, demining became a fundamental condition for the safe return and re-settlement of displaced persons and former refugees, as well as for the rehabilitation of the rural economy.
In addition to landmines clearance, the Mozambican Government adopted last February a Resolution that Prohibits the Production, Commercialization, Use and Non-authorized Transportation of Anti-Personnel Landmines in the Country. ...
It is our belief that the solution to the problem lies, to a greater extent, on the development of new techniques for detection and destruction of these weapons in a committed international partnership. ...
Apart from our domestic efforts, the landmine problem is a crucial item on today's regional agenda of Southern African countries.
In order to face this scourge, the SADC Heads of States and Governments at the last Summit, held in Blantyre, Malawi, adopted a Declaration that, among other things, calls upon member States to adopt national policies on the prohibition of anti-personnel landmines, recommends their adherence to the 'Ottawa Process' as well as the allocation of resources for landmine-clearing operations in the affected countries of the region.
The recently held session of SADC Experts' Committee on Demining in South Africa, provided an occasion for affected countries to work out forms of cooperation in this field, with the view to adopting joint programmes and coordinating international assistance to the mine clearance operations in the region. ...
As victims of landmines, and from one of the world's most contaminated countries, we commend and welcome the initiatives taken by some governments in allocating financial assistance towards mine-clearing and assistance to the victims. This effort, however, is not a substitute for a ban of landmines.
Let us join our efforts at the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, OAU and other international fora, in order to persuade the countries that are still hesitant in acceding to this Convention to follow our example."
Statement by Theo-Ben Gurirab, Foreign Minister
"This laudable initiative started last October here in Ottawa in earnest. The way forward was uncertain and the issues were intractable. Through it all, Canada and other committed nations kept hope alive through networking and negotiations on the draft Treaty.
Here we are back again in Ottawa via Oslo in ever increasing numbers ready to sign an historic Treaty aimed at abolishing anti-personnel landmines from the face of the earth. Namibia had thought that there would be a total commitment by all States to this end without hesitation or preconditions. Sadly we note, this is not to be so at this time.
There are apparently other overriding concerns which, it is said, prevent certain key States from seeing their way clear to joining the overwhelming majority. It is certainly most regrettable that they would not affix their signatures to the Treaty.
However, while all may not sign up, we are all here together as signatories or observers. This indicates that tomorrow is another day. Compliance is at the heart of the Convention. There is no reason not to comply in advance of signing which should be in due course. ...
These lethal weapons were not produced locally but used by our enemies in the anti-colonial wars. Today, a number of Southern African States are saddled with hidden stockpiles of unexploded landmines and other ordinances numbering in their millions. Both the OAU and SADC have become ardent campaigners against civil wars and landmines in Africa. Needless to say the world is fully aware of the dreadful effects of anti-personnel landmines. The preamble to the Treaty sufficiently highlights them. Independence did not put an end to the loss of life and limb caused daily by landmines in our sub-region.
In Namibia, no less, we also inherited this horrible legacy upon achieving our independence in 1990 after long and bitter struggle. Landmines are saturated across a sizeable area along human settlements. Suffering and anguish continue in Namibia. Both humans and animals are dying. Delivery of services and rural development to meet the needs of the people are being hampered severely.
All the public facilities have been and are being utilised to educate and involve the local communities in the Government's demining programme which is increasingly showing positive results. We are determined to eradicate all minefields in our country not later than the year 2000. In this costly undertaking, Namibia has been most fortunate in receiving not only moral support and political solidarity from many countries and international organizations but also, and most importantly, technical and humanitarian assistance from some friendly countries. ...
Once our demining programme is successfully completed, a regional training facility will be set up in Namibia with a view to sharing the accumulated experiences and technical knowledge with our neighbours as well as Africa's overall peace-keeping and demining activities. ...
Namibia strongly believes that all nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological agents, landmines and other weapons of mass destruction should be eliminated, lock stock and barrel without delay. They neither advance human development nor secure global peace. We must save our own lives by serving humanity. This effort requires a concerted partnership of governments, industry and the civil society, including the world's children. ..."
Statement by Knut Vollebaek, Foreign Minister, 3 December "It has been a privilege for Norway to be together with Canada and other countries at the forefront of the efforts leading up to this conference. The Oslo Diplomatic Conference produced a historic result. The convention sets out a total ban on the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines without exemptions, rights of reservation or transitional periods. Such a commitment has been a priority for Norway since the beginning of the Ottawa process.
There are, however, countries which are not ready to sign on to the convention today. We hope that they will soon be in a position to do so. We acknowledge that an all-embracing obligation to eliminate a whole class of weapons will require adjustments of military doctrines to accommodate defense needs and commitments and to ensure that all legitimate security concerns are met.
This signing ceremony does not mark the end of the Ottawa process, but only the end of its first phase. It is essential that the momentum behind the process be maintained. We must continue to strive for the universalization of a total ban on anti-personnel mines. At the same time we must work to gain wider acceptance that the human suffering caused by these weapons far outweighs any military benefits they may be claimed to have. We must secure the earliest possible entry into force of the convention.
The challenge facing all of us now will be to translate the provisions of the convention into reality. We hope that this conference will result in a comprehensive plan of action. ...
I am pleased to launch the first major step of what we have called the 'Norwegian Mine-Victim Support Strategy' as part of an intensified international effort to assist victims and to strengthen preventive measures. In cooperation with the Norwegian Red Cross Society, my government has agreed on a common commitment in support of the ICRC's comprehensive mine victim assistance programmes. ...
We welcome President Clinton's new initiative on humanitarian demining, the 'Demining 2010 Initiative'. This initiative confirms the United States' determination to respond swiftly and effectively to the humanitarian problem caused by the use of anti-personnel mines. ...
We believe it is necessary to standardize mine-clearance methods and work to strengthen the local capacity in this area. We support the Swiss initiative to establish, in close cooperation with the United Nations, an international centre for humanitarian demining in Geneva to deal with any operational problems and challenges posed by humanitarian demining. Cooperation between regional centres for mine-clearance should be intensified with a view to enhancing expertise and improving demining technology. The large number of international demining initiatives underlines the need for a coordinated strategy. We will encourage initiatives which can better utilize existing expertise and capacity in all fields in order to improve information systems, awareness-raising programmes, rehabilitation of mine victims and mine-clearance operations."
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
Statement by OECS
"The countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) viz. Antigua & Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines wish to use this unique opportunity to affirm to the world their unstinting support for a global ban on the production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel landmines.
As a grouping of small nations in the Eastern Caribbean, we view this historic conference and signing ceremony as symbolic of the overwhelming desire of the international community for peace and security around the world. Our countries believe that peace, security and stability are the sine qua non which will permit the international community to divert more resources to the pressing economic developmental goals in our region as well as elsewhere. ...
The OECS Region is one area of the world which is totally 'landmines-free'. Nevertheless, we are tremendously saddened when we learn of the devastating effects of landmines on innocent victims, many of whom are women and children, in other parts of the world. It is for this reason as well as to show solidarity with the majority of the world community that the OECS Member States...have undertaken to sign and ratify the Convention with the sincere hope that this process will lead, in the not-too-distant future, to the orderly eradication of this man-made scourge from our planet."
Statement by Domingo L. Siazon, Jr., Foreign Minister
"We have come to Ottawa not simply to conclude another pact related to arms control and disarmament.
Of greater import is the fact that we are reinforcing the arsenal of humane law; and, through the rule of that law, we hope despite all despair, to mitigate the awful and needless suffering that war imposes on millions worldwide. ...
Canada's visionary course in this noble crusade proceeded from the heart of all humanity. For our Convention speaks clearly, concisely and in unison for the vast majority of nations.
This unprecedented global solidarity inspired everyone. It brought us from Ottawa last year, through Vienna, Bonn and Brussels. Last September, in Oslo, we resolved to eliminate this nefarious instrument of war that kills or cripples at least 26,000 people every year. ...
It is fitting, furthermore, that we remember the many private citizens and non-government organizations who also labored, with unflagging determination, for the global ban on landmines.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, so effectively led by Jody Williams, is a triumph for global civil society and for global civic action. Those who took part in this great venture deserve our deepest respect and highest commendation.
The Philippines has been an active partner in the Ottawa Process. As part of its core group, we helped bring this Convention to a fair conclusion. ...
During his visit on 15 December 1995 to Cambodia, a country that knows only too well the menace of landmines, President Ramos declared that the Armed Forces of the Philippines would renounce their use. We have since then destroyed our entire inventory of landmines. ...
To ensure the effectiveness of our Convention, the Philippines has sought, from the beginning, the universal acceptance of a global ban on anti-personnel landmines.
We still aim for this goal, and to bring in those nations, which include some of our closest friends, that cannot yet sign this Convention.
We understand their positions.
We ask them to listen to their conscience.
We urge them to draw courage from what the rest of us have done. ..."
Statement by Alfred Nzo, Foreign Minister, 3 December
"It was little more than a year ago that participants from 50 countries gathered here to discuss a global strategy to rid the world of anti-personnel mines. At the end of the meeting my colleague Minister Axworthy boldly invited us all to meet in Ottawa in December 1997 to sign a ban treaty. While we certainly welcomed the invitation and the challenging task it set us, many privately conceded that it would be a miracle.
The fact that we meet here today having attained our objective is a tribute to the lobbying, campaigning, negotiating and commitment of our leaders, civil society, diplomats, the military, landmine survivors and so many others who made this Convention a reality.
I wish in this regard, to honour and to pay a special tribute to the late Princess Diana for her work in focusing attention on the disastrous effect of landmines. ...
Universalization of the Convention must also be a priority, and we should redouble our efforts to ensure that those who are unable to join us today do not continue to use the weapons with the same terrible effects. We should, however, take care not to weaken the international norm for which we have all worked so hard. States should also not lose sight of the need to let the work for the universalization of our treaty dovetail with encouragement for the universal adherence to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Many States that will be signing the Convention from today onwards have leapfrogged the CCW to support this strong, clear and total ban on anti-personnel mines. The serious commitment reflected in such action should render it possible for them to also consider adherence to the CCW and its Protocols. ...
Let us remember that we cannot demine today simply for some to remine tomorrow and it is therefore imperative for us to actively campaign for the early Entry Into Force of this Convention and for its universalization."
Statement by Clare Short, Minister for International Development, 3 December
"I am very proud to be here as the representative of the new Government in Britain - supporting the call for a total ban on anti-personnel landmines. ...
One of the earliest actions of our government, in our first month in office, was to announce that we are banning the trade, transfer and production of all landmines. [We] [a]lso announced a moratorium on use. This will of course become [a] total ban when this Convention enters into force. ...
Everyone is also aware of the great contribution made by Diana, Princess of Wales in bringing the issue of landmines to the attention of a much wider public. The Convention is a fitting tribute to everyone involved in the campaign, which has led us here today. ...
Eradication of landmines is high on our list of priorities. We believe we must place the neediest people at the heart of what we do. At national level, this means supporting a planned clearance programme, giving priority to urgent humanitarian needs, strengthening indigenous capacity and skills for mine clearance and mine awareness - this is important. We cannot speed up clearance without a big development of local clearance capacity in the heavily mined countries.
This means giving affected families a say in programmes that impact on their lives by making best use of local knowledge and involving local communities in decisions on demining.
I recently announced doubling of UK resources for this work to £10 million per year over next 3 years. Much of this will go towards mine clearance at local level. [We] want to speed up mine clearance but we must also retain high standards and protect the safety of the people whose land is being cleared.
I know first-hand how dangerous and painstaking the work is. The UK will commit resources to new technology that improves safety standards and speeds up clearance. But we recognise that there is unlikely to be an easy technological fix and demining is likely to continue to be painstaking and labour-intensive. ...
The EU has in recent years played a greater role in financing demining activities and mine victim assistance programmes. The UK will use its forthcoming EU Presidency to promote further work in demining.
For ourselves, we will continue to assist landmine victims in the context of our regular programmes to improve health care and support the disabled. We attach equal importance to the immediate needs of survivors and their long-term rehabilitation. Their long-term needs can only be served if we improve health and social service provision for all. Separate provision is not an answer. What we need is stronger international support for human development and poverty eradication.
Finally, if we are to rid [the] world of landmines, we must be firm on those countries who continue to use them. While the humanitarian need is paramount, we need to guard against helping countries which continue to lay landmines. This key issue needs further consideration during this week's Mine Action Forum.
The people of the world want progress on landmines. This Convention is the most significant step to date. But much work remains. The task is huge, but not impossible.
My view is that the people of the world are yearning for less selfishness and self-interest in international politics. They want to see a global ban on landmines as part of a new era in politics. If we are to halt the suffering and make greater progress in development we must achieve a global ban and faster progress in demining. The British government will do all it can to achieve this goal."
Statement by Maria de Los Angeles Florez, Deputy Foreign Minister
"Cuba attends this assembly, as before, in the capacity of observer, although such status in no way implies that we do not coincide with the humanitarian objectives and aspirations motivating the rest of the countries represented here, particularly the main promoter of this initiative. As we have previously said, both in the international meeting held in this city in 1996, and in other international fora, Cuba fully adheres to the international community's concern on the negative effects of the indiscriminate and irresponsible use of antipersonnel landmines on the civil population of many countries.
Hence, in the early eighties, we were actively involved in the negotiation process which led to the establishment of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons that can be regarded as excessively harmful or may cause indiscriminate effects. Three Protocols have been added to the latter, among them Protocol Two on mines, booby traps and other devices.
Likewise, our country added its voice and action to the endeavors of so many who have pursued developments in international humanitarian law which would provide for wider protection to civil population. These endeavors resulted in modifications to the current Protocol Two, amended.
Such outcome reflected the largest commitment that the entire international community was willing to reach, which Cuba, of course, fully shared. Accordingly, we are now complying with the required constitutional process on this amended instrument.
Today, we have before us a draft Convention, whose scope and contents reach beyond the effort undertaken only two years ago and establishes stricter standards for States.
However, the negotiation process, concluded last September in Oslo and as set forth in the aforementioned international instrument, was originally conceived as strictly based on humanitarian considerations, and it thus, fully overlooked the fact that this type of conventional weapon constitutes a means of legitimate defense for many States. Even if these States shared the humanitarian objectives inspiring the convention, they would find their national security in jeopardy if they subscribe it.
As far as Cuba is concerned, the 'All People's War' concept upholds the use of land mines along the borders of the national territory, with exclusively defensive purposes, in order to cope with imminent threats or external aggressions.
Therefore, for Cuba, a country subjected for almost four decades to a permanent policy of hostility and aggression by the strongest military, economic and political power in the world, to renounce this kind of weapon in the defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, entails a challenge we cannot afford to share.
...our country uses antipersonnel landmines in the perimeter bordering the portion of Cuban territory illegally occupied by the US Naval Base at Guantanamo, in the eastern part of the country. With this, we pursue the goals of preventing violations and provocations, as well as ensuring citizens' security and tranquillity in the areas close to the base and deterring any kind of military breakthrough from that foreign enclave.
A few days ago, several news agencies released statements by the President of the United States in which he referred to the so-called 'Mine Removal 2010' initiative, under which that country will start removing the mines it has planted within the areas of its naval base in Cuban territory in 1999.
The Cuban government has taken due note of such intentions, although we would have expected the statements of the US President to refer to the removal of US troops and the reversion to Cuba of that portion of national territory that they continue to illegally occupy, rather than to the removal of landmines.
On our side, we can affirm that the day when US troops withdraw from the naval base they have kept in Guantanamo against the will of the Cuban people and government, and that territory returns to the legitimate sovereignty of Cuba, the Cuban side will remove its landmines, and thus Cuba may then be declared a territory free of landmines in times of peace. ...
...these are the reasons why Cuba will not endorse the convention on the total prohibition of mines that is being opened today for signature. Nevertheless, we assert our readiness to closely follow and to participate in future activities organized within the framework of the program of action on mines. We harbor the hope that someday the aggressive policy against Cuba will come to an end and that a just peace will prevail in our part of the world, thus allowing us to adhere to an instrument whose humanitarian objectives we are the first to applaud."
Statement on behalf of Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen, delivered by Tarja Kantola, Finnish Delegation, 4 December
"Finland is participating in this Conference as an observer. The Ottawa Convention is an important milestone on the road to a total ban worldwide. Finland supports an effective and global ban on anti-personnel landmines. We will continue to be actively involved in this effort.
In Finland, the interagency task force which was established in June will later this month submit its report on our participation in international efforts to ban anti-personnel landmines. The task force has examined the question of substituting Finland's anti-personnel landmines with other means in the context of maintaining our independent and credible defence capability. Preliminary estimates suggest that any substitution will not be easy and will entail expenditure in the billions of Finnish marks.
I hope that once the task force has finished its report the Government will be in a position to consider which kind of timetable and which kind of additional expenditure could make it possible to substitute anti-personnel landmines with other means in Finland's defence. On that basis, Finland will evaluate the possibility of signing the Ottawa Convention.
While seeking a total ban internationally Finland will continue to maintain her policy of not having anti-personnel landmines deployed on her soil. Finland neither produces nor exports anti-personnel landmines. ...
Finland believes strongly that the total ban on anti-personnel landmines should be pursued through mutually complementary means that serve the goal of putting a stop to the humanitarian landmine problem in areas of conflict around the world. Such means include the amended Protocol II of the 1980 Certain Conventional Weapons Convention, the Ottawa Convention as well as intensified efforts at the Conference on Disarmament."
Statement by Ambassador David Sultan, 4 December
"...due to our unique situation in the Middle East involving an ongoing threat of hostilities as well as terrorist threats and actions along the borders, we are still obliged to maintain anti-personnel land mines as necessary for self-defence in general and along the borders in particular.
On this matter Israel is acting in accordance with the requirements of the CCW (Convention on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons). Hence, at this juncture, Israel, regrettably, is unable to sign the treaty until effective alternative measures are available to ensure the protection of civilians threatened on a daily basis by terrorists and to ensure the protection of Israeli forces operating in areas of armed conflict.
Our constraints notwithstanding, and in line with our support for the goals embedded in the treaty, we have joined those States opposing the proliferation of anti-personnel landmines in issuing in 1994 a unilateral moratorium prohibiting the export of anti-personnel landmines. That moratorium was extended in 1996 for three more years. Extending the moratorium indefinitely is being considered. In this context it is worthwhile to note that Israel does not produce anti-personnel landmines and its export control restrictions enforce compliance of the moratorium.
...to demonstrate our commitment to the international efforts not only in words, we have contributed financially as well as in sending volunteers to the mine awareness programme in Angola. Furthermore, Israel and Jordan have recently successfully carried out a combined project of clearing mine fields along our border. Currently the governments of Canada and Israel are considering the establishment of a joint rehabilitation centre for landmine victims. ..."
Statement of the Government, 2 December
"As a matter of principle the Government of Sri Lanka welcomes a comprehensive ban on Anti-Personnel mines as it has a laudable humanitarian objective. However, such a ban should certainly encompass the use of Anti-Personnel Mines by security forces as well as by terrorist groups like the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Terrorist groups however, are responsible for the widespread indiscriminate use of Anti-Personnel Mines which has become a major concern in many conflict situations, around the world.
The Government of Sir Lanka is therefore conscious of the fact that Anti-Personnel mines are a legitimate defence weapon in the context of protecting the security forces installations against the threat caused by terrorist groups.
Further, at a time when Sri Lankan armed forces are engaged in a war with the LTTE terrorists to safeguard the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sir Lanka, [it] is not conducive for Sri Lanka to be a signatory to a convention which totally prohibits the production, use, stockpiling and transfer of Anti-Personnel mines.
In view of the above Sir Lanka is reluctantly compelled to abstain from signing the Convention at present. However, when the threat to National Security ceases, Sri Lanka would willingly sign the Convention.
In the context of upholding the humanitarian concern that Sri Lanka shares with all peace loving nations, it has sent a two member observer delegation to this Convention."
Statement by Ambassador Volodymr Furkalo, Head of Delegation
"It is a known fact that we do not produce these weapons; along with some other notorious legacies of the former Soviet Union, including acute economic hardships, the landmine pool that we have was left in Ukraine's possession upon the collapse of the USSR.
It is due to the lack of sufficient resources available to this end that Ukraine will not be able to comply with the obligation to destroy its stockpiles of landmines within a four-year term. Taking an obligation and being unable to fulfill it would be against our major policy outlines, our traditions and our attitude towards international agreements as well. So, as of today, we are not in a position to join de jure those who have applied their signatures under the Convention on Prohibition of Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Landmines and on their Destruction. But, fully supporting the noble spirit of this highly conscious international effort aimed at reducing and totally eradicating the APMs thus enhancing sustainable peace, security and stability around the globe, Ukraine does hope that in the foreseeable future it will also be in the position to accede to the Convention.
Today we would welcome any assistance by the State-Parties under Article 6 of the Convention to help destroy our stockpiled landmines. We are ready to start consultations concerning such a possibility. And when the Convention enters into force, we are also ready to consider the possibility to start reporting to the Depository of the Convention on our APMs in accordance with transparency measures envisaged in Article 7.
From the outset of restoration of its independence, Ukraine has joined the countries of good will. It has become a party to all major international instruments in the field of arms control and disarmament. It was due to the same good will that, in a gesture unprecedented in the history of international relations, Ukraine voluntarily gave up the world's third largest nuclear arsenal that it had. It is by the same good will that we give a warm welcome to the overwhelming success of the international campaign to ban landmines and hope to join the participant countries as soon as appropriate conditions have been established."
Statement by Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth, Special Representative to the President and Secretary of State for Global Humanitarian Demining, 4 December
"At the outset of my remarks I want to repeat the congratulations that President Clinton expressed last week in Vancouver when he said: 'Canada has done a remarkable and an important thing in trying to get the countries of the world to agree not to produce, deploy or sell landmines'.
As the President noted, Canada's achievement in bringing 125 countries here to sign this treaty reflects Prime Minister Chrétien's very hard work 'to create the biggest possible tent.' Credit is also due to the international Campaign to Ban Landmines and to Jody Williams. ... Finally, I would of course mention Senator Patrick Leahy, whom the President has praised as 'a genuine worldwide leader in this effort.'
As you know, Mr. Chairman, the United States did not sign this treaty. That is because of President Clinton's concern for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform and the unique responsibilities the United States has around the world for the security of friends and allies, not for lack of dedication to our common goal of eliminating anti-personnel landmines from the face of the earth. President Clinton was the first world leader to call for the elimination of anti-personnel landmines in his General Assembly address of 1994, and he has acted consistently on that commitment.
Since making that appeal, President Clinton has made the long-standing US moratorium on transfers and exports permanent, a ban we intend to seek to universalize in negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We have already destroyed over 1.5 million long-lived anti-personnel landmines and are on course to destroying another 1.5 million by 1999.
Mr. Chairman, as you are aware, there are two changes we sought in Oslo that would have allowed us to sign but unfortunately were not accepted. The first was an adequate transition period. The second was protection of our mixed systems containing anti-tank mines protected by anti-personnel submunitions.
I want to reiterate the policy of the President on anti-personnel landmines which he announced on 17 September. The President has directed the Department of Defense to end the use of all anti-personnel landmines outside Korea by 2003, including those that self-destruct. For Korea, the objective is to have alternatives to anti-personnel landmines ready by 2006. The Department of Defense is now embarked on a program to develop new systems that will permit meeting those deadlines.
Assuming we do in fact find alternatives by 2006 (which is the transition period we proposed in Oslo), we would still be faced with the fact that the treaty as now written bans our mixed munitions -- our anti-tank mines. The anti-personnel submunitions in those systems quickly self-destruct so as to pose very little risk to non-combatants. However, the treaty as now written bans our principal anti-tank systems, but not those of our allies.
We have not yet found a viable concept for replacing these systems with an alternative that is comparable in terms of military effectiveness, safety of use, and minimal risks for non-combatants, which is why we were unable at Oslo to agree to a date certain for ending their use under the treaty as now written.
If we succeed in identifying a comparable alternative for our mixed systems, it would put us in a position to sign the Ottawa Convention, as soon as we have also developed our alternatives for Korea.
Today, even as we are welcoming the signing of the Ottawa Convention, we are also turning our collective attention to what Foreign Minister Axworthy said is an even tougher challenge for the international community, clearing the world's landmines that threaten civilian populations. ...
Mr. Chrétien, our aim, working closely with others, is to help launch a concerted global campaign to end the humanitarian scourge of landmines once and for all. We look forward to working with all countries, including those not in attendance here, along with all the international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and others who are making critical contributions to our common goal - the goal of eliminating anti-personnel landmines from the face of the earth."
Statement of the Viet Nam Observer Delegation
"1. Viet Nam welcomes the efforts made by the Canadian Government and governments of other countries, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and other NGOs in completing an international comprehensive treaty on the banning of anti-personnel landmines. Viet Nam has not yet participated in the Convention because of her territorial defense reasons. Viet Nam does not export anti-personnel landmines. Being a war victim, including anti-personnel landmines, Viet Nam believes that other countries understand her position.
2. Planted anti-personnel landmines and other unexploded devices left over during the war and conflicts have inflicted considerable casualties to Viet Namese civilians. For years after the war, the Government of Viet Nam has concentrated great efforts in clearing anti-personnel landmines and unexploded devices left over in conflict areas to ensure safety of people. Viet Nam appreciates international efforts and cooperation in demining and resolving anti-personnel landmine consequences and is ready to cooperate with and to receive any assistance in technology, equipment and finance to continue the process of demining and to assist landmine victims. Viet Nam commends China in her execution of clearing landmines and other unexploded devices left over in Yunnan Province and Quangxi National Autonomous Region."
Mines Action Forum: Program of Action
'A Program for Mine Action,' 4 December 1997
"At the Ottawa Conference, States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction were joined by others in considering the elements of a global action plan to ensure progress on the issue of anti-personnel mines during the period leading up to entry into force of the Convention. In plenary sessions for the Ministerial Conference and Mine Action Forum, the following initiatives were circulated or announced.
General Mine Action Initiatives
Canada - Establishment of a $100 million fund. This fund will support early ratification and entry into force of the Convention and universal acceptance and compliance with its provisions, and support mine-affected countries in the areas of capacity building for indigenous mine action programs, mine awareness education, and assistance to victims.
Central America - Central America 2000 initiative to declare the region mine-free by the year 2000.
EU - Revised Joint Action on AP mines to provide a further EU contribution to demining and victim assistance as well as a moratorium on the transfer and production of anti-personnel mines.
OSCE - The Forum for Security Co-operation will circulate annually among participating States a questionnaire on anti-personnel landmines, with responses due by March 15, 1998 and subsequently by December 15 each year.
UNDPKO [United Nations Department for Peace Keeping Operations] - As focal point for mine action within the UN, and through the activities of the newly-created Mine Action Service, to set up new programs and support existing ones, manage information, promote new techniques and technologies, and play an advocacy role. These new functions are in addition to the demining responsibilities that have traditionally been part of peacekeeping missions.
ICRC - Organize regional seminars and national roundtables of military and political leaders on the military utility/humanitarian costs of AP mines (Central/Eastern Europe and Asia).
Entry into Force
Participants in the Ottawa Conference stressed the need for governments to take the necessary national steps to ratify the Convention as soon as possible in order to bring this instrument into force and make effective its provisions. Canada, Ireland and Mauritius presented to the UN Secretary General their instruments of ratification, becoming the first three States to ratify the Convention. Importance was attached to ensuring that States have the technical capacity to comply.
Austria - 'Ratify in 1998' Initiative, using bilateral and multilateral contacts to encourage signatories to ratify the Convention in 1998. ...
ICBL - Public campaign Entry into Force During 1998. Lobby the UN to proclaim the year 2000 as International Year of the Eradication of Landmines.
ICRC - Global promotion and distribution of ratification kits, including a summary of the Convention for parliamentarians and the public and guidelines for State adherence and implementation. ...
UNICEF - Lobby non-signatories to sign the Convention; promote early ratification by signatories.
The Convention calls for the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines owned by signatories as soon as possible, but not later than four years after entry into force.
Denmark - Destruction of existing stocks to be completed by the year 2000.
France - Destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines to be completed before the year 2000.
Hungary - Under the 'package of unilateral measures', all remaining stockpiles will be destroyed by December 31, 2000.
Ukraine - Ready to begin partial destruction of its APM stockpiles, with the first stocks to be destroyed by the end of 1997.
ICBL - Work with governments to establish a base line of mine-related information against which to measure the accuracy of data provided on entry into force.
Participants in the Ottawa Conference recognized the importance of removing anti-personnel mines already in the ground. Signatories to the Convention agreed to destroy all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under their control not later than 10 years after entry into force and, where possible, to assist others in mine clearance and related activities.
Australia - ... The Australian Defence Science and Technology Organization will spend AUS $4 million over the next five years on research into improved mine detection and neutralisation.
Austria - Creation of a new Mine Information Centre of the Austrian Armed Forces for the dissemination of know-how on demining. ...
Belgium - Increased contribution to the UN Voluntary Fund and to the ICRC; continuation of research into high technology demining solutions... Additional contributions will amount to more than BF 63 million, bringing the annual global contribution to more than BF 100 million.
China - Second massive demining campaign in the border regions of Yunnan province. (November 97- December 99)
EU - US $40 million in 1998 for demining (European Commission); plus up to ECU 4.5 million in other contributions to international and regional organizations; plus ECU 15 million for development of appropriate technologies for humanitarian demining (European Commission). ...
Finland - Initiating a two-year mine clearance program, in cooperation with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre. A Finnish mine-clearing group will be deployed; total cost, FM 9.2 million.
France - ... To promote the establishment of a world data bank on the world's mined areas.
Germany - To host an International Experts Conference on Demining, focused on mechanical mine clearance and detection technologies (early June 1998).
- To increase its current level of bilateral funding for demining activity, including mine-related education and awareness building (to approximately DM 20 million per annum).
Italy - To provide US $5.9 million for demining in 1998. An additional US $1.25 million is expected for multilateral demining assistance.
Japan - Within the framework of the Tokyo Guidelines, to extend ¥10 billion in assistance over the next five years in the fields of demining, vocational assistance and victim assistance. ...
Netherlands - ...launch of a training program for 80 mine clearance instructors for humanitarian mine clearance operations.
Norway - US $100 million contribution over five years, for mine clearance and awareness and mine victim assistance.
Romania - Donation of demining equipment, a mine-related radiological laboratory and a mobile medical unit, to Angola.
Slovenia - To assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in demining; and, in the context of mine action in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to establish an International Trust Fund for Demining, Mine Clearance and Assistance to Mine Victims.
Solomon Islands - To undertake a study, with assistance from the UNDP, to determine the feasibility of removing unexploded ordnance left behind on the seabed from World War II.
Sweden - Increase funding for demining to approximately Cdn $28 million.
- Increase funding for R&D (multi-sensor mines detector) by approximately Cdn $3 million. ...
Switzerland - To establish the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining directed toward practical solutions to the operational problems posed by humanitarian demining, including creation of a data base and management training courses. (Official creation of the centre March 1998...)
- To host a two-day International Expert Conference on Demining Policy Planning and Implementation [early September 1998].
Thailand - To help demine Thailand's entire common border with Cambodia within the next three years.
UK - To double its resources for demining to £10 million per year over the next three years. ...
USA - Demining 2010 Initiative. A global demining campaign to remove landmines by 2010. ...
- The USA will increase its financial contributions to global demining to approximately US $82 million in 1998. The goal is to increase to $1 billion per year worldwide resources devoted to landmine related issues, including mine awareness education, mine and unexploded ordnance clearance, and mine victim assistance.
- The USA will work to expand the number of countries supported by its humanitarian demining program to 21 in 1998, with more considered in 1999. ...
OAS - Launching a mine clearing program in Guatemala. ...
OAU - Implementation of the Plan of Action adopted at The First Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines at Kempton Park. ...
UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] - Proposed establishment of a Mine Action Centre, in a mine-infested developing country, to focus on training of trainers in survey, minefield information systems, mine awareness, assistive devices and networking. ...
Mine Victim Assistance
The Convention clearly recognizes the need to provide assistance for the care, rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration of mine victims.
EU - Contribution of up to ECU 8 million to the ICRC for assistance to mine victims.
Holy See - Contribution of US $100,000 to the ICRC for victim assistance.
Norway - Norwegian Mine Victim Support Strategy. In support of the ICRC's comprehensive mine victim assistance program, Norway will contribute US $20 million over a five-year period.v ICBL - National campaigns to promote the establishment of an international day for mine victims.
ICRC - ... Further develop programs of mine awareness in affected countries; convene an international conference on mine awareness (Sarajevo, February 1998).
LSN [Landmine Survivors Network] - Establish in 1998 support services for landmine survivors by developing locally-run networks in 12 mined countries, providing an international training conference for Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) associates, and launching an easy-to-use database on victim assistance over the Internet. LSN will also work closely with donor governments, private industry and international NGOs to raise US $3 billion for a range of effective survivor assistance over 10 years.
There is widespread agreement on the need for effective coordination of international efforts by States, international organizations and NGOs, and for transparency in tracking progress made.
Austria - European seminar on the implementation of treaty obligations with regard to APM in the armed forces. (Summer 1998 in Vienna.)
Canada - Host a senior working-level meeting in March 1998 to discuss how the international community might best manage the humanitarian demining and victim assistance agendas during the coming months and years...
EU - To promote greater international coordination through a Steering Committee, and working groups for appropriate technology, information management, and afflicted country actions. ...
Ireland - To host an international meeting in autumn 1998 in Dublin to assess the current State of the anti-personnel mine problem as well as international progress on mine action (in cooperation with Canada and the ICBL). ...
ICBL - Meeting in Bosnia and Herzegovina (early 1998).
- Second NGO Tokyo Conference (January 31-February 1,1998).
- Meeting in South Korea (Late January-early February).
- Demining in Southern Africa Seminar, co-hosted by GEM, SACBL, MAG (South Africa, February 1998).
- West African NGO strategy workshop (February 1998).
- Regional government/NGO seminar in Budapest (March 1998).
- Meeting in Moscow, ICBL/IPPNW (May 1998).
- Meeting in Burkina Faso parallel to OAU Summit (June 1998).
- Seminar on Non-State Actors and the Ban (June 1998).
- 5th International ICBL Conference (tentative; Fall 1998). ..."
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.