|Updated: 17-Nov-2004||NATO Speeches|
17 Nov. 2004
by Robert F. Simmons Jr.
All NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations (46 in total) are actively engaged in an ad-hoc group on anti-personnel land mines and small arms and light weapons and anti-personnel land mines.
NATO led forces in the Balkans and Afghanistan do not use anti-personnel land mines. NATO led forces in these two regions are clearing mines laid by others. In the Balkans it is estimated that 120,000 anti-personnel landmines have been removed and 26 million square metres have been cleared of mines. NATO led forces in Afghanistan are assisting with clearance of landmines at Kabul International Airport and elsewhere.
In addition to this work, the NATO PfP Trust Fund Policy helps Partners to destroy their stockpiles and to meet their obligations under article 4 of the Ottawa Convention. Each Trust Fund project is led and funded on a voluntary basis and tailor made for each Nation.
In the four years since it was established, NATO PfP Trust Funds have helped to destroy more than 2 million anti-personnel landmines in Albania, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Last month we launched two new projects in Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro. A pilot project for stockpile destruction in Afghanistan was conducted in Kabul earlier this year in partnership between International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the UN and the government. Work to prepare a Trust Fund for Afghanistan is at the preparatory stage.
Our project in Belarus aims to destroy more than 4 million anti-personnel land mines, the majority being the so-called butterfly mines. We believe this is the first large scale project to destroy the PFM-1. Our second project to destroy the stockpiles declared by Serbia and Montenegro will contribute significantly to making South East Europe mine free.
When these two projects are completed, Trust Fund projects will have destroyed more than 8 million anti-personnel land mines.
NATO recognises the leading role played by the UN and looks forward to our continued cooperation with the UN, its agencies and NGOs such as the ICBL and others with whom we collaborate such as the International Trust Fund and the Geneva Centre for Humanitarian de-mining.
A summary of the Trust Fund projects along with photos are
available on our website.