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Monday, 10 December 2007 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Tenth Anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Convention) (debate)

  Angelika Beer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, what is the actual point of this debate today? On Friday we as Parliament want to adopt a resolution in which we firstly point out that we have recognised the 10th anniversary of the Ottawa Convention here with an exhibition in Strasbourg, but in which we also very clearly state that it is not enough to outlaw anti-personnel mines, but that anti-vehicle mines also have to be included.

The 10 years in which the Ottawa Convention has been in existence are so important because for the first time it was a civil society law suit that led to an international ban on a weapon of mass destruction, namely the anti-personnel mine. It is very revealing that the only group not to support this consensus in Parliament disappeared after Mr Zappalà’s speech. The point is that I wanted to ask Mr Zappalà – in view of the fact that in 2005, for example, 100 accidents took place with anti-vehicle mines in Afghanistan alone – whether he had ever looked a crippled child blown up in a school bus in the eye and given a reason why he thought anti-personnel mines were bad, yet anti-vehicle mines were good.

The point is that I would like to know from him and his group whether they have just once looked soldiers who are now crippled in the eye, or the relatives of the dead who were crippled and murdered by anti-vehicle mines, and how they justify that. There is no difference between good and bad mines, but there is a need to ban anti-vehicle mines internationally as well.

I should like to say something else on the issue of funding. The Instrument for Stability is necessary and helpful, of course – and I, too, continue to do what I can to ensure this as rapporteur – in carrying out mine-clearing work in short-term measures. We also know, however, that a short-term measure, a strategy for clearing our world of mines, is not sufficient. With 2009 fast approaching, we are therefore pleading that we again discuss the adoption of an independent budget line. If we are talking about humanity here, then we need clear resolutions.

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