Geneva - 13 December 2002 -

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you, Ambassador Sood, on your appointment as Chair of this Meeting of the Sates Parties to the CCW and to commend your intense efforts in managing the work of the Group of Governmental Experts toward positive results. I would like to assure to you the full and continued cooperation of my delegation throughout the follow-up process.

I would like also to take this opportunity to thank both Ambassador Sanders and Mr. Kolarov for the intensive work and energy displayed in the Coordination of the Group of Governmental Experts on the issues of Explosive Remnant of War and of Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines. T heir standing efforts are reflected in the results of the Group and the agreed positions on the mandates for next year, so as to further address the humanitarian impact of ERW and Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines.

Mr. Chairman,

Along with the other EU associated states, my delegation joined 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 Ambassador Iversen of Denmark.

Nevertheless, allow me, Mr. Chairman, to contribute with some comments of a conceptual nature to our general debate on the important process we are going to embark upon in 2003.

Mr. Chairman,

While fully endorsing the mandates contained in the report prepared by the Group of Governmental Experts, my delegation shares the opinion that the humanitarian problems created by ERW and by Mines Other Than Anti- Personnel Mines are real and need to be addressed in a timely manner. As one of the fundamental elements of the International Humanitarian Law, the CCW offers the most suitable framework to achieve the right balance between humanitarian concerns and military requirements. This is an important concept stated constantly by all the participants to our collective exercise, even if, in different interpretations and degrees of priority.

As for my delegation, it is our firm believe that in the negotiations and debates envisaged for next year, we all need to keep in mind that the core objective of the CCW framework is the promotion and consolidation of the International Humanitarian Law.

Therefore, the goal of insuring protection to non-combatants, civilians and all vulnerable groups in armed conflicts, as well as in the post conflict situations, stands as a cornerstone of our approach.

Mr. Chairman,

In his message addressed to this meeting, the UN Secretary General said, I quote, "The Convention saves lives and reduces suffering while protecting the security interests of the States parties, and does not impose significant economic burdens on its members", end quote.

This is a timely reminder of the reasons we are all gathered today in this framework, as well as of our constant task in multilateral diplomacy.

And indeed our constant task is to negotiate and conclude agreements, preferably legally binding agreements that, as is it also the case of the CCW and its Protocols, are aimed at building and warranting predictability. And we all know that predictability is very much needed in such times, when the international environment is becoming fluid ever more under of the effects of the current globalization process and the swift technological developments.

In our future efforts we need to ensure that the concept of predictability will be constantly in our attention for the negotiation on ERW.

Moreover, it is the hope of my delegation that predictability will stand at the base of a possible negotiating mandate for a CCW Protocol on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines. Then it will become clear that only the legitimate and responsible use of this type of mines is lawful, thus also properly addressing both humanitarian and legitimate national security concerns.

Mr. Chairman,

This brings me to the concept of universal adherence and implementation of international agreements. In this sense, I would like to inform this body that Romania has commenced the internal procedures for ratification of the CCW Amended Article 1, of the CCW Amended Protocol II and of the CCW Protocol IV. These procedures are scheduled to be finalized early next year.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion I would like to assure you that my delegation will continue to contribute actively to the future work in the CCW, with the main objectives of consolidating and promoting the norms of the International Humanitarian Law.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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