Press Releases

    19 November 2004

    Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Is “Living Instrument” that Can Be Modernized to Meet New Challenges, Secretary-General Tells Geneva Meeting

    NEW YORK, 18 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the 2004 Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, 18-19 November, delivered by Enrique Román-Morey, Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament:

    I am delighted to greet the participants in the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons.

    To date, 97 States have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or accession to this important Convention, which saves lives and reduces suffering while protecting the security interests of States Parties.  I encourage you to consider practical steps to encourage more accessions to the Convention.  After all, the Convention is a living instrument that can be modernized to meet new security challenges.

    The scope of the Convention was expanded in 2001 to cover internal armed conflicts.  Thirty-five States have so far ratified that amendment, and I urge the remaining States Parties to do so without delay.  The Convention was also strengthened in 2003 with the adoption of new Protocol V, designed to eradicate the daily threat that explosive remnants of war pose to civilian populations and to humanitarian personnel working in post-conflict settings.  This new protocol has so far been ratified by three States.  I hope that more States Parties will soon notify their consent to be bound by the Protocol, so that it can enter into force in the near future.

    The Group of Governmental Experts established by the Second Review Conference in 2001 provides a forum for reinforcing the international norms established by the Convention regarding explosive remnants of war and mines other than anti-personnel mines, as well as on compliance issues.  I hope that the Group will soon be able to recommend to States Parties the strongest possible commitment with regard to mines other than anti-personnel mines, an issue on which a wealth of information is now available.  I also appeal to the States Parties to consider what further steps can be taken to prevent weapons from becoming explosive remnants of war and to minimize their devastating humanitarian impact.

    I trust this meeting will help ensure that progress is made on all these fronts, and that the Convention remains strong, healthy and effective.  In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.

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