18 November 2004
Complete Elimination of Landmines Remains a Priority for International Community, Secretary-General Tells Conference of High Contracting Parties
NEW YORK, 17 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annans message to the Sixth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, in Geneva today, 17 November, as delivered by Enrique Román-Morey, Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament:
I am delighted to send my greetings to the participants in the Sixth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which prohibits or restricts the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices.
Landmines, and especially anti-personnel mines, indiscriminately kill civilians long after the end of conflict, and wreak havoc on societies struggling to emerge from war. They aggravate the disastrous economic consequences of armed conflicts, and threaten future generations. Their complete elimination remains a priority of the international community.
Amended Protocol II is an important component of the global effort to deal with the humanitarian problems caused by landmines. It addresses the protection of civilians, peacekeeping forces and humanitarian missions in conflict situations. Since its adoption by the First Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention in 1996, 80 States have notified their consent to be bound by the Protocol. I welcome this progress, but more is needed. I therefore appeal, as I have in the past, to those countries that have not yet ratified this instrument, particularly those which have acceded to the original Protocol II, to do so as soon as possible.
I hope that the work of this Conference will give impetus to that cause, and contribute to the effective implementation of Amended Protocol II. For its part, the United Nations will continue to work to eliminate landmines worldwide.
I wish you every success in your deliberations.
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