Vienna, 7 December 2007 - "A total number of 137 governments and more than 600 participants attended the Cluster Munitions Conference in Vienna: this is a broad-based incentive for the international process to achieve a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions that will be binding under international law," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik at the Cluster Munitions Conference ending today in Vienna.
"The driving force behind this process is a new form of multilateral diplomacy: close networking between governments, non-governmental organisations, members of parliament, survivors, diplomats, scientists and committed citizens. This disarmament partnership will remain a feature of the Vienna conference, pushing forward the international process against cluster munitions," stated Plassnik. Thanks to these networks it had been possible to achieve basic consensus in Vienna on aid for victims, which is one of Austria’s main concerns.
"Yesterday, the Austrian Parliament adopted the first total ban on cluster munitions worldwide, and did so without reservations. This is the result of targeted cooperation by the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defence, Parliament and non-governmental coalitions within the framework of the 'Cluster Munition Coalition'. I am convinced that this act will also serve as an example at the international level," continued the Foreign Minister.
"We shall not rest on our laurels. The Vienna conference has brought the international process against cluster munitions many new supporters. However, there is disagreement on the best way forward. A lot of targeted persuasion remains to be done in this area," stated Plassnik. "Our goal is still a treaty which makes a tangible contribution to international security, both in terms of content and the number of contracting parties. A new worldwide alliance that outlaws cluster munitions is beginning to take shape. Thanks to the new networks I am confident that we shall achieve this goal before the end of next year," concluded Plassnik.
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