1 December 2003


NEW YORK, 27 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office in Geneva, in Geneva, 27 November:

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all participants in the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons. 

The humanitarian principles of the Convention are timeless.  But, if anything, the relevance of the Convention has grown since its signature in 1980.  Its scope was expanded in 2001 by amending Article I to cover not only conflicts of an international character, but also internal armed conflicts.  I am pleased that 20 States have now ratified this amendment, which will enable it to enter into force on 18 May 2004.  I urge those States that have not done so to ratify the amendment.

Full implementation of the Convention, and universal adherence to it, is particularly vital regarding the Explosive Remnants of War and Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines. These are sleeping killers which continue to threaten men and women in fields and children at play, endanger the lives of aid workers, and hold back reconstruction and development. Progress in eradicating the threat they pose will help meet pressing humanitarian needs while advancing the security interests of states.  The meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts over the last year have helped to address the many technical and non-technical complexities involved in achieving these goals.

I therefore call upon all States Parties to redouble their efforts to protect humanitarian personnel and civilian populations from the effects of the mines and Explosive Remnants of War covered by this Convention, and I wish you all possible success in your deliberations.

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