Vienna, 30 November 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Austria - strong and supportive member of the Red Cross family"


Foreign Minister on the 30th International Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference in Geneva

Vienna, 30 November 2007 - "Conflicts in many parts of the world continue to bring misery and destruction to humanity. Strengthening humanitarian international law therefore remains one of our most important tasks," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on the successful conclusion of the 30th International Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference in Geneva on 26 to 30 November 2007.

Plassnik: "One of the greatest challenges is the cruel effect of weapons such as cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines on the civilian population. Austria presented its draft law on the total prohibition of cluster munitions at the Red Cross Conference and in the light of the upcoming Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions calls on all states to cooperate in establishing a legally binding treaty against these arms. The Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, which has been in existence for ten years, could serve as a model."

The Foreign Minister welcomed the fact that the spirit of the Middle East conference in Annapolis had had such a positive effect on the Red Cross conference, resulting in a agreement supported by both Israelis and Palestinians on a resolution to strengthen cooperation between the Israeli Magen David Adom and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Plassnik: "The nine declarations of intent on humanitarian projects made by Austria and the Austrian Red Cross reflect the high expectations regarding the humanitarian role played by our country." Austria supports the adoption and implementation of a law on cluster munitions, implementation of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, heightened awareness of humanitarian international law among journalists and opinion leaders, and the integration of young immigrants through educational measures and the encouragement of voluntary services like the Youth Red Cross.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213