Jerusalem, 9 July 1995

GENEVA CONFERENCE ON MINE REMOVAL

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

An Israeli delegation headed by Foreign Ministry Acting Director General, Eitan Bentzur, is attending a meeting on the issue of the removal of mines in Geneva, under the auspices of the Humanitarian Division of the United Nations, on July 5-7.7.95. The goal of the meeting is to promote international efforts on the issues of mine removal. The issue gained increased international attention following the end of civil war in various focal points around the world (Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan and Cambodia). Even after reaching peace agreements between the sides, the civilian populations continue to suffer as a result of anti-personnel mines, which were dispersed throughout the confrontation areas and which have not been removed. The minefields present not only a humanitarian problem of the highest order, but also a serious obstacle to economic development.

In his speech at the plenum forum, Mr. Bentsur will emphasize the main aspects of Israel’s effort on the issue, and will announce the donation of $30,000 to the United Nations’ voluntary fund for the removal of mines. In addition, Israel has donated $3,000 for the organization of the meeting in Geneva. Israel supported proposed resolutions by the UN which called for a moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines, as well as for the advancement of the international effort on the issue of mine removal. Following the UN resolution on the issue of the moratorium in July 1994, Israel declared a moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines for a period of two years.

In the framework of the international effort to minimize damage to civilian populations by anti-personnel mines, in March 1995 Israel joined the "Charter on Conventional Weapons" (CCW). The second protocol of the charter deals with regulating the use of anti-personnel mines and is to be reexamined, with the aim of strengthening it. Israel took part in the two meetings held on the subject in August 1994 and January 1995, and will participate as a full member in the review conference that will take place in Vienna in September. On the issue of mine removal, Israel has offered the UN aid in research and in the development of mine removal equipment.