Wien, 4. April 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: "We must be relentless in the fight against anti-personnel mines"

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

Vienna, 4 April 2013 – “The Mine Ban Treaty has helped to reduce human suffering caused by these cruel weapons significantly. And yet, there are still some four thousand victims of anti-personnel mines worldwide per year. In addition to clearing mined areas from these treacherous weapons, we must continue our support for the survivors of mine accidents also in future", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action of the United Nations.

The humanitarian dimension has always been a top priority of Austria's foreign policy. Consequently, Austria was among the initiators of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines that came into force in 1999. To date, 161 states are parties to the treaty. "It is, however, alarming that some non-signatories are still using mines, as we have seen in the civil war in Syria. This illustrates how important it is to keep advocating the universalisation of the treaty with vigour", Spindelegger continued.

Last year, Austria contributed some 700,000 euros to the worldwide fight against anti-personnel mines. The projects in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Albania, Cambodia, the Lebanon and Libya that received Austrian support in 2012 focus mainly on mine clearing and victims assistance.

Contact:
Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3320
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
e-mail: abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at