Cartagena, Colombia, 29 November 2009 - Several States not parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention will attend the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World as observes, the Summit’s President announced today. “We welcome all States that wish to come to Cartagena as observers,” said Ambassador Susan Eckey of Norway, the President of the Cartagena Summit. “We urge all States not parties to the Convention to accede to the Convention. Our aim is to rid the world of anti-personnel mines. All States should support this goal and join the Convention.”
States that so far have not yet joined the Convention but will participate in the Summit include China, Russia and the United States, all of which possess millions of stockpiled anti-personnel mines. The latter will participate in the work of the landmark Convention for the first time.
“The fact that the United States has decided to participate in the work of the Convention suggests that perhaps the door is not fully closed on the US eventually joining the rest of the world in this important cause,” said Kerry Brinkert, Director of the Convention’s Implementation Support Unit.
Brinkert’s comments come after the US announced on 24 November that following a review of the Convention it would not join. However, a day later US government officials said the review was still pending.
“The US decision on the Convention does not change the purpose and intended outcomes of the Cartagena Summit, added Brinkert. “The Cartagena Summit is about assessing progress made by the 80 percent of the world's States that have joined the Convention and adopting a plan of action to assist them in overcoming remaining challenges. The Cartagena Summit is not about dwelling on those countries that have chosen to remain on the sidelines of this important international effort.”
The Summit will also assess how attitudes towards landmines have changed in recent years, including by those outside of the Convention. “The fact remains that this Convention has had an impact on the behavior of States not parties. It is a universally accepted norm,” said Summit President, Ambassador Susan Eckey of Norway. “The overwhelming majority of States know full well that modern nations do not use anti-personnel mines and we would be surprised if such nations ever used these weapons again.”
A total of 156 States have accepted the Convention and 39 remain outside of it. In addition to China, Russia and the US, 14 other hold-out States have registered to take part in the Cartagena Summit.
The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World is the name given to the Second Review Conference of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. At the Cartagena Summit, the international community is expected to clearly express a shared commitment to a world without mines and adopt a Cartagena Action Plan to overcome remaining challenges. A particular emphasis is being placed addressing the needs of women, girls, boys and men who have fallen victim to mines. Over 1,100 delegates have confirmed that they will attend this world event.
The Cartagena Summit gets underway on 29 November with a series of events to be hosted by Colombia’s Vice President, Francisco Santos.