Press Releases

    13 December 2002


    NEW YORK, 12 December (UN Headquarters) -- The following is the text of a message delivered today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, in Geneva:

    Since the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons was signed in 1980, it has remained deeply relevant to States and peoples alike. The humanitarian principles embodied by the Convention are timeless, unaffected by technological changes, strategic realignments, or new ways of waging war. The Convention is a living instrument that can be adjusted and updated to keep abreast of new developments.

    I am pleased that the States Parties to the Convention have thus far succeeded in doing just that, notably during last year’s milestone Second Review Conference. The expansion of the Convention to cover not only conflicts of an international character, but also internal armed conflicts, was a timely and warranted step in the right direction.

    Efforts to reinforce the international norm established by the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, namely, on the aspects of Explosive Remnants of War and Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines, are currently evident through the work of the Group of Governmental Experts. The meetings of the Group provide the necessary forum for States Parties to address the military, technical and economic complexities involved.

    With regard to Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines, the wealth of material now on the negotiating table provides the foundation for a consensus that reflects the interests and concerns of the absolute majority of States. I am confident that the Group of Governmental Experts will resolve its differences on outstanding issues as soon as possible.

    The Convention saves lives and reduces suffering while protecting the security interests of the States Parties, and does not impose significant economic burdens on its members. Therefore, it is unfortunate that to date there are still only 89 States Parties. I urge you to consider practical steps that could be taken to encourage more accessions in the near future. And I strongly encourage you to use this Meeting of States Parties to ensure that the Convention remains strong, healthy and effective at the outset of its third decade of operation.

    Please accept my best wishes for the success of the Meeting of States Parties.

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