|Organization of American States
August 22, 2001
NICARAGUA TO HOST LANDMINES MEETING IN SEPTEMBER
Nicaragua today renewed an invitation to Organization of American States member countries to attended the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. The meeting will be held in Managua, September 18 through 21.
Léster Mejía Solís, Nicaragua's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and a special envoy of the Foreign Affairs Minister, addressed the OAS Permanent Council, thanking "the countries of our Hemisphere for firmly supporting Nicaragua's bid to host this Third Meeting of States Parties."
According to Mejía, the international campaign that led to the signing of the Ottawa Convention "was a joint effort with states and well as government- and non-government organizations. It involved mounting an extraordinary effort in international diplomacy over the last few years, especially on disarmament and humanitarian issues."
The Nicaraguan envoy noted his country's "inescapable obligation to actively participate in the negotiations that led to the signing of that Convention," because Nicaragua was among the countries most seriously affected by anti-personnel landmines in the Americas. He asserted that "during the conflict-ridden 1980s, Nicaraguan territory was fertile ground for more than 135,000 anti-personnel landmines." But he noted that in the 1990s, with agreements as well as peace and national reconciliation a reality, the entire nation embarked on an effort to rid the country of the devices, some 81,000 of which have been destroyed so far. "We are proud to state that our southern border is landmine-free, and we hope to be able to declare our entire country mine-free by 2004," he added.
The upcoming Managua gathering will, among other things, review how states parties have been implementing the Convention and will set out general guidelines to move forward. The Ottawa Convention was adopted in 1997 and entered into force March 1, 1999. To date, 118 countries have ratified, including 27 from this Hemisphere.