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A Way Forward Towards A World Without Landmines

3 December 2004
Media Statement

Practical Way Forward Towards A World Without Landmines

"A five year action plan agreed at first Review Conference in Nairobi of the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines makes a world without landmines a practical goal" Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"The Ottawa Convention has been an enormous success because of the cooperation between State governments and civil society, and this action plan will advance progress on mine destruction and clearance" Marian Hobbs said.

In her speech to the review conference, Marian Hobbs outlined New Zealand's commitment to demining and our past work in countries such as Cambodia, Iraq and Afghanistan. She stressed the need for coordination between States, the United Nations and NGOs to progress mine clearance and ensure the safety of mine-affected communities. She also encouraged mine-affected governments to take charge of their mine-clearing programmes by assisting communities to develop demining capacity.

"States must prioritise demining efforts on the basis of risk to civilians, and to enable development activity to occur." Marian Hobbs said. "Communities must be be able to grow their own food, for example, which means clearing minefields on land suitable for agricultural purposes" she said.

Marian Hobbs also called for universality under the Convention.

"Those States that have not yet signed the Ottawa Convention must do so in the interests of reducing suffering and conflict, and to enable food security and economic growth necessary for social justice and peace in the world" Marian Hobbs said.

"New Zealand is committed to the action plan under the Ottawa Convention and will continue working with other countries, the UN and NGOs towards a world without landmines" she said.

ENDS


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