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Brussels Conference sets 95 states on path to anti-personnel mine ban

27-06-1997 News Release 97/19

Geneva/Brussels (ICRC) - Cornelio Sommaruga, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), hailed the success of the Brussels International Conference for a Global Ban on Anti-Personnel Landmines , which this morning adopted a declaration in which 95 States committed themselves to conclude an anti-personnel landmine ban treaty by the end of 1997. " The Brussels Conference has demonstrated that the momentum towards a ban of this pernicious weapon is now irreversible, " said the ICRC President.

In associating themselves with the Brussels Declaration, States affirm that the essential elements of the treaty should include: a comprehensive ban on the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines; the destruction of stockpiled and removed anti-personnel landmines; and international co-operation and assistance in the field of mine clearance in affected countries.

Detailed negotiations on the wording of the new international humanitarian law treaty will take place at a Diplomatic Conference in Oslo in September. Only States which have signed the Brussels Declaration will be allowed to participate actively in these negotiations, although other States, the ICRC, UN agencies and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines will be able to attend as observers. It is expected that the final treaty will be signed in Ottawa in the first week of December.

In his address to the Conference, President Sommaruga described the Ottawa process as " an unequivocal expression of the revulsion of public and statesmen alike at the'mass destruction in slow motion'that we have wit nessed through the widespread use of anti-personnel mines. "  He urged the 155 States attending the Conference to commit themselves not only to a ban of anti-personnel mines in the short term but also to long-term programmes to meet the needs of mines victims and to clear existing mines.