10 years The Hague Code - Austria in the service of disarmament
Vienna, 23 November 2012 - "Austria does not only pay lip service but consistently contributes to a world without inhumane weapons", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the international code against the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Spindelegger referred both to the prohibition of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions which was successfully driven by Austria, and also to the on-going support required by the relevant organisations, some of which are based in Vienna, especially in the field of nuclear arms.
"A process targeted at creating a world without inhumane weapon systems can only be maintained and upheld if all interested parties live up to their commitment. Every single person in Austria would profit from that. We will only be able to secure and even increase our prosperity if there is peace and if the constant threat from weapons of mass destruction is removed", the Foreign Minister said explaining the importance of Austria's disarmament efforts. Being a country where many international organisations are based, Austria takes its contribution to making the world a safe place very seriously. In addition to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Secretariat for Monitoring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban (CTBT), there is also a branch office of the New York Disarmament Office located in Vienna. Added to this are a number of international expert control regimes that reside in Vienna.
The Hague Code was signed in The Hague on 25 November 2002; Austria serves as the Immediate Central Contact and Executive Secretariat and supports the countries that hold the chair (rotating annually) in their work. Currently, the chair is held by South Korea. The Code provides the only regulation so far according to which the 134 signatories commit themselves voluntarily to ensure comprehensive exchange of information about missile and space travel policies and to announce any missile launches to the other countries. Austria is responsible for organising the annual meetings of the signatories and the management of data exchange. At a reception hosted at the Vienna International Centre on 23 November, Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Johannes Kyrle, and the Korean chairman, Ambassador Hyun Cho, remembered the successes achieved so far and referred to the work that still needs to be done. The reception was also attended by a representative of the UN Secretary General and the diplomatic corps.
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