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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 27, June 1998

Ottawa Convention Ratifications: Canadian Statement

'Axworthy welcomes twentieth ratification of the landmine-ban Convention,' Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Media Release No. 164 1998, 23 June 1998

"Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy today welcomed Zimbabwe's ratification of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, known as the Ottawa Convention. Zimbabwe is the twentieth signatory to ratify, demonstrating that the Ottawa Convention banning landmines is moving swiftly to meet the 40 ratifications required for the Convention to become binding under international law.

'Within a little more than six months, we are already at the halfway mark,' said Mr. Axworthy. 'This is testament to the continued political commitment and public momentum behind this issue. We celebrated our first success on the road to a mine-free world last December, and I look forward to seeing the Ottawa Convention enter into force soon,' he added.

One hundred and twenty-two States signed the treaty when it opened for signature in Ottawa last December. There are now 126 signatories and, compared to many other treaties, the pace of ratification is considered exceptionally rapid. Treaties frequently take from three to four years, or more, to achieve the required number of ratifications for entry into force. If the current pace of ratification can be maintained, the Ottawa Convention could be in force by early 1999.

'Few things would so transform the lives of children and communities for the better as full ratification of the Ottawa Convention. It can't happen soon enough. This is one objective the world is capable of reaching,' said Stephen Lewis, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund).

'Canada will continue to work in partnership with non-governmental organizations, governments, the United Nations, the International Committee for the Red Cross and others to attain this goal,' said Mr. Axworthy. 'As we pursue Ottawa Process II - the implementation phase of the Convention - we all need to keep in mind that the Convention is much more than a simple treaty to control or ban a weapon. It provides a detailed, unambiguous framework for action, covering everything from destruction of stocks to mine clearing to victim assistance and rehabilitation.'

Canada was the first country to ratify the Convention, doing so on 3 December, 1997, the same day it signed. Canada was joined in ratifying that day by Ireland and Mauritius. The other countries to have ratified are: Belize, Bolivia, Croatia, Denmark, Djibouti, Fiji, The Holy See, Hungary, Mali, Mexico, Niue, Peru, San Marino, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turkmenistan. …"

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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