Vienna, 2 December 2013 – “Reports on the recent use of anti-personnel mines in Syria, Myanmar and Nagorno-Karabakh are highly disconcerting”, said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger with a view to the imminent conference of member states of the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention. “I urge all parties to put a stop to this completely unacceptable practice immediately.” Several member states also reported the use of anti-personnel mines in recent years: the recently published “Landmine Monitor 2013” (www.the-monitor.org) cites cases from Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan and Turkey. “I recognise the efforts that have been undertaken to throw light on these allegations. However, the task remains to ensure full transparency as quickly as possible”, the Foreign Minister emphasised.
Overall, Spindelegger’s sum total of the results of the convention was positive: “Since the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention entered into force in 1999, it has impressively demonstrated how humanitarian international law yields immediate results in terms of increased safety for mankind.” Although the “Monitor” still counts 3,628 worldwide victims in 2012, this figure is 60% lower than that counted in 1999. “The fact that all the EU member states became signatories of the Convention in 2012 has added momentum to the treaty and provided an important additional stimulus to our battle for a mine-free world”, Spindelegger concluded.
From 2 until 6 December 2013, this year’s conference of the now 161 member states of the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention will take place in Geneva. Austria is currently co-chairing the Committee on Victim Assistance that was founded under the Convention.
Contact:Federal Ministry for European and International AffairsPress Department Tel.: +43 (0) 50 1150-3320Fax: +43 (0) 50 1159-213 abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at