– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States
The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this statement.
We are proud that all 28 EU Member States are now States Parties to the Ottawa Convention, demonstrating our collective commitment to the goal of a world free the threat of anti-personnel mines.
Since the last Review Conference in Cartagena, significant progress has been achieved in the implementation of the Convention, but much remains to be done. We are, inter alia, particularly interested in moving ahead in our efforts to effectively address post-demining challenges, ensure long-term support to victim assistance, promote further universalization and donor coordination, as well as in exploring the potentials for further complementarity with other instruments, as applicable. The EU will continue to work in close cooperation with the countries concerned and provide, where possible, assistance to address the significant remaining challenges.
The European Union has supported the organisation of two regional workshops, in Lima, Peru with the participation also of Ecuador and in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. A third workshop will be held in Kinshasa, DRC in November. Our High Level Task Force on Universalisation comprised by HRH Prince Mired of Jordan, HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium and Colombian international celebrity Juanes has already started high level missions to engage with leaders of States not party to the Convention. The European Union also supports the holding of a high level conference on victim assistance which will take place in Medellin, Colombia in April, 2014. In addition to the significant contributions made by its Member States, the EU, in total, has committed more than 47 million Euros to mine action in heavily affected countries and areas in 2012.
We are looking forward to the annual meeting of States Parties and the Review Conference preparatory meeting in December and we stand ready to engage constructively on the road to the Convention’s Third Review Conference in Maputo.
The European Union supports the humanitarian goal of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In this regard, we are deeply concerned about the reported use of cluster munitions against civilian populations by Government forces in Syria. We call upon the Syrian regime to refrain from the indiscriminate use of cluster munitions.
We took note of the Lusaka Progress Report, monitoring progress and identifying key questions which were addressed by States Parties in Lusaka last September with regard to implementing their commitments.
For the European Union, victim assistance is a core component of mine action and there is also a clear commitment to strengthening care rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration of victims. We also wish to highlight the strong linkage with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. While recognizing the sovereign right of States to be bound only by the Treaties to which they have acceded to, the European Union supports the development of synergies in the implementation of international humanitarian disarmament instruments, as applicable. The respect for relevant International Law is crucial to ensure the protection of civilians in armed conflicts.
I would like to turn now to the resolution on Assistance in mine action that is traditionally presented by the European Union and its Member States and was facilitated by Poland this year. We highly value the resolution on Assistance in Mine action and its role in reaffirming the normative framework for the humanitarian mine action activities carried out by the UN system. We are pleased that also this year, the resolution continues to support the work of United Nations Mine Action Service and takes note of the elaboration and adoption of a new UN mine action strategy for years 2013-2018. An interesting new addition represents also a strong reference to rapid response, which allows for the UN to more quickly and flexibly respond at the outset of an emergency. We also acknowledge new language in relation to victim assistance and on gender. Last but not least, we also welcome renewed reference to the Convention on Cluster Munitions as an important legal framework in responding to humanitarian problems caused by this type of munitions, which constitute a major concern for all EU Member States.
We would therefore like to express our appreciation for how the negotiations have been carried out. We thank all delegations for their constructive engagement on the draft resolution and look forward to its adoption by consensus.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.