VIENNA: Next year Austria assumes the Presidency of the Meeting of the States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention
“Over the last nineteen years, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention has saved innumerable people from falling victim to these particularly heinous weapons”, Foreign Minister Kurz pointed out, highlighting the importance of the ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction’ following the decision to entrust Austria with the Presidency of the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention at the beginning of next year. By assuming the presidency, Austria once again demonstrates its huge and long-standing commitment to a world free of anti-personnel mines, which also included Austria’s significant contribution to preparing the convention adopted in 1997.
“Together with international organisations and civil society representatives, the States Parties pursue the goal of a world free of anti-personnel mines by 2025. During our presidency in 2017 we want to add a powerful impetus towards reaching this goal”, Sebastian Kurz stressed. The priorities Austria set itself for its presidency include convincing other states to join the Convention, enhancing the effectiveness of aid to survivors of accidents involving anti-personnel mines, further promoting mine clearance and making further progress in the destruction of stockpiles.
The Fifteenth Meeting of the States Parties, held in Santiago de Chile, elected Austria on 1 December 2016 as President of the next Meeting. The Sixteenth Meeting that will mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention in 1997, will convene in Vienna in December 2017.
Over these last twenty years, the number of people killed or maimed by anti-personnel mines has decreased by two thirds. Large areas of mined land have been cleared and huge stockpiles destroyed. The production and trade in anti-personnel mines has seen a massive decline. With a total of currently 162 States Parties, the Convention is approaching universal application. “The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention is a major success story of disarmament. But achieving a world free of anti-personnel mines still requires a lot of hard work. Austria is grateful for the opportunity and is determined to make a special contribution towards reaching this goal”, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz concluded.