Ethiopia: EU to step up efforts to rid Africa of landmines (Angola)
The European Union will step up efforts to rid Africa, the world poorest continent and one of its most conflict-prone regions, of landmines and small arms
ADDIS ABABA, 04/21 - The European Union will step up efforts to rid Africa, the world poorest continent and one of its most conflict-prone regions, of landmines and small arms, officials said Friday.
"We are aware that the problems caused by landmines and the illicit proliferation, circulation, accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons constitute a serious impediment to social and economic development," said Tim Clarke, the EU representative at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa.
"These problems cannot be resolved unless there is tighter and better coordinated international cooperation."
Speaking at the end of a three-day meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Jeffrey Mugumya, director of the AU's peace and security department, made an impassioned plea for help.
"Africa is the continent worst affected by the scourge of landmines. We should move from policy formulations to active implementation of these policies. We want to ensure that within 10 years, Africa becomes a landmine-free continent.
"We are well aware that we cannot do this alone," he said. The meeting also marked the 10th anniversary of the Ottawa Convention, the most comprehensive international instrument for ridding the world of antipersonnel mines.
The treaty deals with everything from mine use, production and trade, to victim assistance, mine clearance and stockpile destruction and has been ratified by 153 nations.
According to the United Nations Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Somalia and Sudan are Africa's worst landmine-affected countries.
Von: 21.04.07 www.angolapress-angop.ao