Wien, 5. November 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Austria – a pioneer in the banning of cluster munition"

05.11.2007

Austria first to sign a ban on cluster munition

Vienna, 5 November 2007 - "Austria is one of the pioneers in the international community who have consistently supported a binding ban on cluster munition under international law. At the beginning of the year, only a handful of states persistently supported the cause. Meanwhile, we have managed to convince more than 80 states to commit themselves to this objective", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at the start of the signature campaign in Austria in support of an international ban on cluster bombs during today’s "Worldwide Action Day for a Ban on Cluster Munition".

During this action day, public events will be organized against cluster munition worldwide. The objective is to inform the public about the humanitarian impact of these weapons and to collect signatures in favour of banning them. In this context, the Foreign Minister also thanked activists of all ages present at the event for their great personal commitment to raising public awareness for this issue.

In this context, the Foreign Minister referred to her speech before the UN General Assembly in September in New York: "Disarmament, arms control, and conflict prevention must immediately return to the top of the global agenda. We need a credible revival of multilateralism and a new partnership in these areas." In her speech at the UN headquarters, Plassnik also announced a national ban on cluster munition: "We are determined to further underscore our role as a pioneer in this process by introducing a total national ban on these horrible weapons that inflict such unbearable suffering on people." Upon a proposal by Defence Minister Darabos and herself in early October, the Federal Government already adopted the respective draft law: "It is now up to the parliament to act and to quickly adopt this law." December 5 is the date envisaged for this purpose. This day will also see the opening of the international conference on cluster munition in Vienna: "I hope that there will be a national ban in Austria on the same day. This will demonstrate that our words are really followed by deeds", said Plassnik.

You can sign the petition against cluster munition at www.stopstreubomben.at.

The conference on cluster munition, which will take place between 5 and 7 December in Vienna, will focus on the definition of cluster bombs, on assistance to victims, the clearing of affected areas, and the destruction of stockpiles. Information on the conference and the subject of cluster munition is available as of today on the homepage of the Foreign Ministry at: Cluster Munitions

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