Mr. President,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election in the important office of President of the Second Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. I am confident that the meeting will successfully accomplish its challenging agenda under your able leadership and extensive experience.

I would like also to take this opportunity to congratulate all the delegations participating to this meeting for their impressive efforts and political willingness that allowed the steady entry into force of the Convention. I commend also the huge work displayed by ICBL and other NGOs for preparing the edition of the Landmine Monitor 2000. In this spirit and for the sake of enhanced accuracy and up dating I will also briefly comment on some of the elements reported therein.

Mr. President,

Romania, along with other responsible members of the international community fully shares the common concerns on the humanitarian, social and economic consequences caused every day by the scourge of the APLs in several countries of the world.

These are main reasons for which Romania is committed to strongly supporting the efforts of the international community, with the goal of eradicating the plague of anti-personnel landmines and its indiscriminate effects on civilian persons, years after their use in armed hostilities. The same reasons determined Romania's unbiased option to sign the Ottawa Convention and to extend its share of contribution to the process of full and effective implementation of this instrument.

Along with the other EU accession states, my delegation has aligned itself to the statement made on behalf of the European Union and fully shares the views and objectives expressed in the statement delivered to this meeting by the distinguished head of the delegation of France.

Nevertheless, allow me, Mr. President, to underline some elements regarding the firm and consistent Romania has been giving to the adoption of measures regarding the restriction of use, non-proliferation, and finally, total elimination of APLs.

My country signed, on April 8, 1982, the "Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the use of Certain Conventional Weapons that may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects", and ratified it on January 26, 1996. Romania also supported the amendment of Protocol II of the Convention, at the Conference of State Parties held in April 1996. Romania participated actively at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, in the debates aimed at elaborating an international agreement for banning APLs exports.

The Romanian contribution to the eradication of the APLs plague and its indiscriminate effects was also accomplished through enforcement of important internal unilateral measures. The national production of APLs ended in 1990 and on the July 1, 1995, Romania adopted a unilateral moratorium on exports of APL, extended by successive Decisions of the Government. The current moratorium is due to be in force until November 25, 2000, not September 15, 2000, as reported in Landmine Monitor 2000. The relevant Romanian authorities have initiated the procedures for a new Government Decision providing for a further three years extension of the moratorium.

Romania ranks also among the states that signed the Ottawa Convention on December 3, 1997, when the instrument was open for signature.

As a signatory country of the Ottawa Convention we pay a particular attention to the work and the recommendations of the Standing Committees of Experts and greatly appreciate the dedication shown in pursuing the goal of achieving, as soon as possible, concrete results in the outgoing process against APLs.

Mr. President,

With reference to the current stage of ratification of the Ottawa Convention by Romania, I have the honor to inform you and the delegations to this meeting that important steps of the internal procedure have already been accomplished. The draft of the ratification law was elaborated by the relevant Romanian institutions, adopted by the Government and has been forwarded to the Parliament for ratification.

Taken into consideration the political significance my authorities are attaching to the issue of APLs, there are good perspectives for Romania to participate as a State Party to the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.

Mr. President,

Romania as like many other members of the international community was and will remain involved in the field of the de-mining activities and medical assistance to mine victims.

Romania deployed engineering troops for de-mining activities in the framework of several peacekeeping missions carried on in Albania, Angola and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Humanitarian medical assistance to mine victims was given in the Romanian field hospital units deployed with the UN mandated missions in Angola, Somalia and Kuwait.

Mr. President,

Romania has joined the new international standards concerning APLs set-up by the provisions of the Ottawa Convention being aware of financial implications stemming from the process of national implementation, as well as of the possible effects on national security, given the fact that, for the time being, Romania is a participant only in arrangements of collective security. This is yet another proof of the genuine commitment of my country to the process of total elimination of APLs and the political willingness to enhance Romania's contribution as a stability factor and security provider at regional and global levels.

Mr. President,

My authorities are confident that the commitment to destroy the national APLs stockpile, in compliance with the relevant provisions of Article 4 of the Convention will be met. The current holdings of APLs are reasonable and stored under strict control of legally authorized institutions. In this respect, the estimation reported in the Landmine Monitor 1999 and 2000 concerning possession of a stockpile of "…several millions of APLs…" is imprecise and does not reflect the present state of fact. Upon entry into force of the Ottawa Convention for Romania, the exact number will be reported in compliance with the relevant provisions of Article 7 and will be available for public information.

Romania is not a mine-affected country and thus priority will be given to the destruction of the APLs stockpile. Deep consideration is given also to the possibility of accelerating this process and - to this end - the Romanian authorities are considering to make full use of the relevant provisions of Article 6 concerning international cooperation and assistance. Any kind of offer in this respect, including financial support, will be studied with due consideration.

Mr. President,

Before concluding I would like to warmly welcome the offer made by Nicaragua to host the Third Meeting of the States Parties and to express the support for the recommendations put forward by the Standing Committees of Experts. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Swiss authorities and the authorities of the Canton and the City of Geneva for the excellent organization and conditions provided for this meeting.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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