SECRETARY-GENERAL HAILS AMENDED PROTOCOL TO
NEW YORK, 12 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message delivered yesterday to the Fourth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Amended Protocol in Geneva:
I am pleased to greet the participants in the Fourth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Amended Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices. The importance of the elimination of the threat of landmines cannot be overemphasized. Landmines, and especially anti-personnel mines, are having horrendously destructive effects on individuals and communities around the world. Landmines are not only killing and maiming indiscriminately tens of thousands of men, women and children each year, they are also ravaging communities and societies struggling to emerge from armed conflict.
Amended Protocol II represents a concrete response to widespread and growing concerns about the victimization of civilians, particularly in armed conflicts, and the unnecessary suffering of combatants. The amendment process strengthened the Protocol by, among other things, extending the scope of its application to cover both international and internal armed conflicts. Most significantly, the Amended Protocol seeks to achieve a balance between humanitarian considerations and the security concerns of a number of States.
I am pleased to note that since the First Annual Conference of States Parties in December 1999, some progress has been made. Although the aim of achieving universal adherence has yet to be accomplished, an increasing number of States have either ratified or notified their consent to be bound by Amended Protocol II, bringing the total number to 67. I take this opportunity to appeal, once again, to those countries that have not yet signed or ratified this instrument to do so as soon as possible.
The global elimination of the threat posed by anti-personnel landmines remains a priority goal of the international community. The United Nations is playing a key role in achieving this aim. By acting in a united fashion, we can make real and lasting progress towards ridding the world of all mines. I hope that the work of this Conference will contribute to the effective implementation of Amended Protocol II and encourage the accession by other States.
I wish you every success in all your endeavours.
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