Thursday, September 1, 2011

Global movement to eradicate landmines poised to be strengthened thanks to commitments made in the South Pacific

Suva, Fiji, 5 August 2011 – The global movement to eradicate anti-personnel landmines welcomes the news that the island nation of Tuvalu could join the international ban on these brutal and indiscriminate weapons in coming months. “I am pleased that the Government of Tuvalu is seriously considering joining the Mine Ban Convention,” said His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan, who visited the country from 2 to 4 August.

Possible advances in the universalization of the landmark Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention, were the main results of a high-level mission to the island nations of Tuvalu and Fiji by Prince Mired, who is currently serving as Special Envoy on the Universalization of the Convention.

“This Convention is about all States – big and small, rich and poor – raising their voices in support of an end to the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines. Tuvalu would give the anti-landmines movement a real boost if it became the next State to join this noble effort.”
Prince Mired’s visit to Tuvalu included meetings with Governor General Sir Lakoba Taeia Italeli, Prime Minister Willy Telavi, and, Minister of Foreign Affairs Apisai Lelemia.

Tuvalu participated for the first time in the work of the Convention in June 2011 in Geneva as an observer. “The international community again looks forward to the participation of Tuvalu, this time as a member of the Convention, at the Eleventh Meeting of the States Parties (11MSP) to take place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 28 November to 2 December 2011,” said Prince Mired.
During his mission to the South Pacific, Prince Mired also called upon the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat, H.E. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, as well as representatives of several PIF Member States.

“I commend the Pacific Islands Forum for drafting a regional strategy to address the problems caused by unexploded ordnance in the region,” said Prince Mired following meetings at PIF headquarters in Suva, Fiji earlier today. “By drawing upon the experience of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, affected States in the Pacific can benefit greatly in overcoming the challenges posed by all explosive remnants of war.”

Several Member States of the Pacific Islands Forum are affected by unexploded ordnance and abandoned explosive ordnance from the Second World War, including Palau which has leveraged its participation in the Convention to acquire assistance in addressing related problems. To date, 12 of the 16 Member States of the Pacific Islands Forum have ratified or acceded to the Convention.