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Middle East countries must commit to anti-landmine treaty, says Ban Ki-moon

Middle East countries must commit to anti-landmine treaty, says Ban Ki-moon

The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty has been an incontestable success since it entered into force 10 years ago but acceptance of the pact in the Middle East remains disturbingly low, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In a message to the eighth meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, held at the Dead Sea, Jordan, Mr. Ban called for the entire regime to embrace the treaty.

Commending Jordan for its support for mine action, he voiced “hope [that] you will continue to promote awareness on this issue, lobby for adequate funding for all five pillars of mine action, and push for universal acceptance of the Convention in the Middle East.”

The Secretary-General detailed some of the successes produced by the Convention, which now has 155 States Parties.

“The production, sale and transfer of anti-personnel mines have increased drastically,” Mr. Ban said in the message, delivered on his behalf by Sergio Duarte, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

“Vast areas have been cleared, and untold thousands of lives have been saved as a direct result. At the same time, mine victims are being provided with better assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration.”

But he warned that it was vital to not forget that anti-personnel mines still kill and maim in great numbers every year.

“They terrorize populations long after conflicts have ended. Their presence denies communities avenues to rebuild long after conflicts have ended and combatants have gone home.”

He urged the countries that have not yet acceded to the Convention to do so as soon as possible.