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Statement by President Drnovšek on the conclusion of the programme for the destruction of anti-personnel mines in Slovenia at the Poček training area
Poček, 03/25/2003 | statement
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a symbolic day. In accordance with the Ottawa Convention, Slovenia has completely destroyed its stockpile of anti-personnel mines. We have thereby shown ourselves to be among the first where disarmament and respect for international conventions is concerned. The entire time, we have been among those states that have most strongly advocated the adoption and implementation of this convention. Apart from destroying its anti-personnel mines, Slovenia is also active in eradicating the consequences of the use of mines. The International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance operates from Slovenia and was established at our initiative. It is achieving increasingly greater significance and recognition. It has greatly contributed to demining in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and is now expanding its activities.
Both the Fund’s activities and the destruction of anti-personnel mines, in which Slovenia is among the first countries to fulfil its obligations, send a message about and highlight our policy – a message that I firmly believe is correct. I hope that as many countries as possible will follow. Anti-personnel mines have caused a great deal of damage, most notably to the civilian population, particularly in the area of the former Yugoslavia. If we must have armies as our last means of defence, then we must at least ensure that they are as humane as possible. We have to strive for the minimal use of means that bring the gravest consequences to the civilian population. The destruction of anti-personnel mines is one step in this direction.
I believe it is also important at the symbolic level that our obligations concerning the destruction of anti-personnel mines have been fulfilled and carried out at a time when wars are still being fought in the world. This sends a message that such acts are not without significance. Thank you.