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Argentina: Last mines destroyed

19-12-2003 News Release 03/162

The ICRC's regional delegate based in Buenos Aires took part in a ceremony on 4 December at which the last remaining Argentine anti-personnel mines were destroyed at Campo de Mayo military base.

The event was presided over by the defence minister, who was accompanied by the head of the country's joint chiefs of staff and other senior officers. It marked the end of a year-long process, facilitated by the Canadian government, to eliminate some 85,000 mines. In accordance with the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines, Argentina will keep a stock of 5,000 such devices rendered harmless and used for training purposes. Not only the ICRC but representatives of a number of countries, the UN and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (which brings together a large number of groups) were invited to be present at the mines'destruction.

Each State party to the Ottawa Convention is obliged to eliminate its national stocks of anti-personnel mines within four years of the Convention's entry into force for that State. The event organized this month thus symbolized the honouring of one of Argentina's key obligations, and did so before the actual deadline (1 March 2004). The punctual and complete destruction of these national stocks is an important measure of a State's commitment to full implementation of the Convention. Nearly all the States Parties so far required by the Convention to destroy their stockpiles have reported that they have met their deadlines. This brings the total of stored anti-personnel mines eliminated to over 31 million.

 For further information, please contact:  

 María Inés Peytrignet, ICRC Buenos Aires, tel. ++5411 45 15 11 18  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 24 58