Israel Participates in Land-Mine Conference

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
12 May 1999

The first conference of member countries of the Ottawa Convention, which bans the use, production and storage of anti-personnel land mines, was held in Maputo, Mozambique, last week, May 3-7, 1999.

Israel’s delegation, headed by Giora Bachar, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry and Gershon Gan, Israel’s ambassador to Mozambique, took part in the conference’s deliberations at the invitation of the Mozambique government and other Ottawa Convention member countries.

During the conference, the Israeli delegation expressed Israel’s position in principle, which supports the convention’s humanitarian objectives to reduce injury to the civilian population caused by the indiscriminate dispersal of anti-personnel mines, treat the injured, and raise awareness among the population in areas afflicted by mines regarding appropriate preventive behavior.

As an expression of its position, Israel is cooperating with other countries on anti-personnel mine projects in Jordan and Angola. In Jordan, Israel is cooperating with Canada and Norway in an anti-personnel mine clearing project along the Jordan-Israel border. The assistance provided is in the form of technical aid and equipment. Also in cooperation with Canada and Norway, Israel is providing medical assistance to help rehabilitate people injured by mines in Jordan. A workshop, with the participation of a sizable Jordanian delegation, was held in Israel on this issue several weeks ago.

In Angola, Israel, through UNICEF, is involved in a project to raise anti-personnel mine awareness among the local population. For the past three years, Israel has been providing financial assistance for the project (about $100,000 to date), and Israeli volunteers have been treating the local population.