Vienna, 2 May 2003 Press release

Charity Concert 2003 "World without Mines" at the Vienna Musikverein


Combating anti-personnel mines is a priority of Austria's humanitarian foreign policy

Vienna, 2 May 2003 - The "Charity Concert 2003 - World Without Mines" will take place under the patronage and in the presence of Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner at the Vienna Musikverein on 4 May 2003. The Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs is organising this event with the dual aim of raising greater public awareness of the fight against anti-personnel mines and generating new funds for projects and programmes under the anti-mines campaign.

The violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and the pianist Lambert Orkis, who have kindly agreed to waive their performance fees, will present their new programme "Song and Dance" including pieces by Fauré, Brahms, Gershwin, Kreisler and Previn, which was already highly acclaimed in the USA. The charity concert in Vienna will mark the launch event for the two artists' European tour.

The concert's proceeds, topped up by the Foreign Ministry, will be given to UNICEF and the Red Cross. Right from the outset Austria has demonstrated her strong commitment to the fight against anti-personnel mines. Back in 1997 Austria submitted the first draft of the Mine Ban Convention (Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction) and currently holds the co-chair of the Convention's inter-sessional process. Austria also suggested Vienna as the venue for the first review conference of the Mine Ban Convention scheduled for 2004. Under the mine action programme launched in 1999, the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has implemented numerous concrete projects in the priority countries of the Austrian development cooperation programme and in the South East European Stability Pact countries.

Efforts aimed at the universalization of the convention on the ban of anti-personnel mines are also undertaken within the Human Security Network. The HSN, which comprises 13 states and is currently chaired by Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner, is the only supra-regional, comprehensive community of interest in the international system. For Austria's term in office Benita Ferrero-Waldner also defined human rights education and the fate of children in armed conflicts as priority themes. These issues will also top the agenda of the conference to be attended by the Human Security Network's foreign ministers in the first European human rights capital, the Styrian capital of Graz, from 8 to 10 May 2003.