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Annan advocates expanding disarmament measures to cope with new realities

Annan advocates expanding disarmament measures to cope with new realities

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced support for measures that would expand the scope of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).

In a message to the Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention in Geneva, the Secretary-General pointed out that new kinds of conflicts had emerged since the end of the Cold War. "Most recently, with terrorist attacks on the United States, the international community has been confronted with terrible new security challenges," he noted.

Calling the treaty "a living instrument that can be adjusted and updated to keep abreast of new developments," the Secretary-General lauded its States Parties for considering "an impressive range" of proposals towards that end. "With internal conflicts now claiming many more casualties than wars between States, and with small calibre weapons and explosive remnants of war continuing to cause avoidable deaths, injury and hardship, an expansion of the scope of the Convention to cover these issues is clearly warranted," he said.

Mr. Annan also pointed to the "death and devastation" caused by mines, which not only killed and maimed people but also rendered land unfit for agriculture or settlement. Noting that the Convention's Amended Protocol II could help address the problem, he called on those countries that had not yet signed or ratified that instrument to do so without delay.

In addition, the Secretary-General said it was "unfortunate" that the CCW had only 88 States Parties. "I urge you to consider practical steps that could be taken to encourage more accessions in the near future," he said in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by Jayantha Dhanapala, the Under Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs.