`WE MUST ELIMINATE LAND-MINES ONCE AND FOR ALL', SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RESUMED SESSION OF REVIEW CONFERENCE ON CERTAIN CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS
`WE MUST ELIMINATE LAND-MINES ONCE AND FOR ALL', SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RESUMED SESSION OF REVIEW CONFERENCE ON CERTAIN CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS19960422 Following is the message of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to the second resumed session of the Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have Indiscriminate Effects, which was delivered by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Vladimir Petrovsky, today in Geneva:
Today you embark upon the final phase of the Review Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The expectations of the international community that you will successfully conclude the review and further strengthening of this Convention are high.
Today I wish once again to emphasize -- as I did in my message to you in January when you resumed your negotiations -- the urgency of the matters before you. In fact, the urgency is now, if anything, greater. Differences of view, no matter how substantial, must not mar the opportunity to keep the issue of land-mines on the international agenda and to bring about further progress towards the ultimate goal of the elimination of anti-personnel land-mines.
The magnitude of the problem posed by the millions of land-mines scattered around the world has deepened the understanding that the international community can deal with it only through coordinated actions. As a consequence, the United Nations, and a number of its specialized agencies and other international organizations, have gained widening support for a decisive effort to find a solution to this devastating problem.
United Nations personnel are increasingly engaged in the dangerous task of mine clearance, a major activity of peace-building. Currently, the Organization is actively involved in demining operations in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Eastern Slavonia, Laos and Mozambique.
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The United Nations has taken the lead in calling for a ban on these hideous weapons, often characterized as "weapons of mass destruction in slow motion". Land-mines have devastating effects on the population in areas infested with them and make vast areas of land unavailable for development. I am encouraged that the number of Member States which have declared unilateral moratoria relating to the transfer, production or reduction of existing stockpiles of anti-personnel land-mines has continued to rise, thus fostering the political environment for achieving further progress.
It is my sincere hope that your efforts will result in a strengthened Convention and a strengthened Protocol II. Agreement on such important issues as the extension of the scope of application to conflicts not of an international character and on stringent restrictions of the use and transfer of anti-personnel land-mines should now be possible.
The severity of the problem calls for prompt action on the part of the entire international community.
Universal adherence to the Convention is an imperative necessity. I wish to reiterate my appeal to all States which are not parties to the Convention, to initiate or complete the procedures required for the ratification of or accession to the Convention and its Protocols. I also wish to express my gratitude to all those States which have heeded the call and are now participants in the resumed session of the Conference.
There are many difficulties and obstacles that must be overcome before the world is rid of this hidden enemy. I urge you to demonstrate the necessary flexibility and compromise so that the tragic consequences of these loathsome weapons can be further reduced. Failure to agree on severe restrictions on the use and transfer of land-mines would seriously jeopardize the objective of the eventual elimination of anti-personnel land-mines, a goal that will require our utmost determination and dedicated pursuit.
We must ban the use of land-mines. We must ban their production. We must destroy those that are stockpiled. We must eliminate land-mines once and for all!
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