For years the German Government has given both a mine ban and humanitarian mine action high priority. To mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today (4 April) issued the following statement from Bucharest:
"Despite an international ban, many people are still being killed and maimed every day by landmines. Mine-infested land causes appalling suffering among local communities and in many countries remains for decades an obstacle to development and reconstruction.
We must therefore redouble our efforts to eliminate these terrible weapons!
The Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines demonstrates how successful persistent international efforts can be. Since negotiations began in 1996 some 40 million anti-personnel mines have been destroyed and 140 States Parties have completely eliminated their stockpiles.
However, vigorous action is now required to tackle the problem of cluster munitions. Dud munitions are every bit as dangerous as mines! That is why we are pushing for a comprehensive ban."
Germany is a party to the Ottawa Convention of 1997 banning the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines, which is widely seen as one of the most successful international arms control agreements. The German Government is pressing for it to be rigorously implemented and become universal in scope.
The German Government is also one of the world's leading donors to humanitarian mine action. Since 1992 a total of 170 million euro has been made available from the Federal Foreign Office budget for mine action projects in 38 countries around the world. Germany has also contributed over 300 million euro to the 1.5 billion euro provided by the European Commission for mine action programmes over the past decade.