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Goff welcomes signing of Convention

3 December 2008 Media Statement

Goff welcomes signing of Convention on Cluster Munitions

Labour leader Phil Goff welcomed today’s signing in Oslo of the Conventions of Cluster Munitions which bans the manufacture, possession and use of such weapons by signatory countries.

As former Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, Phil Goff had strongly promoted the convention which was agreed to in Dublin earlier this year.

“It is particularly fitting that New Zealand was among the first countries to sign,” Mr Goff said.

“Right from the start we were part of a small group of nations at the forefront of pushing this outcome.”

“In February we hosted the largest ever disarmament conference held in New Zealand with over 300 delegates from more than 100 countries.

“Cluster munitions have left a deadly legacy, maiming and killing thousands of civilians, a great many of them children, often long after the war in which they were deployed was over,” he said.

“The tragic consequences of a million unexploded bomblets in Lebanon as a result of the Hezbollah – Israeli conflict spurred us to tackling the issue of munitions which have unacceptable consequences for civilians.”

Mr Goff said the conventions promoted by New Zealand, Norway, Mexico, Peru, Austria, Ireland and the Holy See was a critical step in breaking the stalemate in Geneva on this issue.

“It is essential to bring the use of cluster munitions to an end.

“I welcome the signing of the Convention on New Zealand’s behalf by our Ambassador for Disarmament in Geneva Don MacKay.

“Don played a critically important role in chairing the key sessions of the Wellington and Dublin conferences which achieved this result,” Mr Goff said.


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