13 April 2004 Noting that 50 countries have not yet joined up, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for the universalization of the global anti-landmine treaty, which will have a major review conference at the end of the year.
"Remarkable progress" had been made since the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction came into force five years ago, according to statement issued by Mr. Annan's spokesman in New York.
Already 141 countries have agreed to adhere to the treaty, known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, while the production and sale of mines has nearly stopped and stockpiles of more than 30 million mines have been destroyed, it added.
Mr. Annan met Tuesday with Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch of Austria, president-designate of the first review conference for the States Parties to the treaty. That conference will take place from 29 November to 3 December at the UN Office in Nairobi.
Mr. Annan told Ambassador Petritsch that he would urge governments to participate at the highest possible level in the conference, and that the UN would give its full support to efforts to universalize the Convention, the statement said.
"Much remains to be done…there are still an estimated 15,000 new victims of these deadly weapons each year," he said.