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Switzerland pleas for renewed demining efforts

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has called on the international community to intensify demining efforts, destroy stocks of mines and help victims.

Calmy-Rey was speaking in Geneva at the opening of a conference reviewing the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of the use, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction.

She said that although progress had been made, there was still much to do.

“Every victim of anti-personnel mines is a victim too many… The action plan adopted in Cartagena in December 2009 injected enthusiasm into applying the Ottawa Treaty. We now have to intensify efforts in a coordinated way.”

She called on other states to join the convention so that it would have “more weight”.

At present, a total of 156 countries have signed the convention but 39 countries are not party to it, including the United States, Russia, China, India and Pakistan.

The president of the Swiss-led International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, appealed for better aid to the victims and an increase in finance.

He also pointed out that four countries had not destroyed their stocks by a deadline set by the convention and several states were behind in demining objectives. and agencies

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