73rd Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 1

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05-Dec-1996 01:34:53
Need for improved efforts to remove anti-personnel land-mines stressed this morning in General Assembly at the 73rd plenary meeting of the 51st session.

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Continued Existence of Some 110 Million Unexploded Mines Worldwide Described as "The War That Never Ends."

The need for improved efforts to remove anti-personnel land-mines and for heightened efforts to address the needs of their victims was stressed this morning as the General Assembly began its consideration of assistance in mine clearance. Several speakers cited the continuing impact of mines in their countries long after the conflict in which they were laid had ended.

The continuing existence of some 110 million unexploded mines in more than 70 countries -- with 20 new mines being laid for each one that was removed -- resulted in a problem of massive dimensions, the Assembly was told. Recalling the words of the Secretary-General, the representative of Canada described the situation as "the war that never ends".

More women, children and agricultural workers were killed, wounded and maimed after a cease-fire than during the actual conflict, the representative of Ukraine said. In the Lao People's Democratic Republic, increased funding was needed to help that country clear the mines which contaminated up to half of its territory, its representative told the Assembly.

Citing the need to develop improved demining technology, the representative of Norway said more resources were set aside for producing new weapons including mines, than for alleviating the damage they caused. The representative of New Zealand suggested the possible establishment of a rapid mine-clearance capacity within a standby peace-keeping force.

The representative of the United States described a new initiative to develop an indigenous mine removal capacity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, operating under a United Nations mandate. In addition, the entertainment industry in the United States had joined with the Department of Defense to produce a Superman comic book in three languages, as a new mine-awareness and educational tool for the children of Bosnia.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Ireland (for the European Union and associated States), Colombia, Indonesia, Mozambique, Japan, Libya, Russian Federation, Liechtenstein, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Argentina, Jamaica and Uruguay.

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