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Nairobi Summit: A starting point

First step in ending the nightmare of land mines

The Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World is a shorter name for the First Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on Their Destruction, which will be held in the Kenyan capital and which lasts until December 3rd.

The Summit aims to prohibit the deployment of antipersonnel mines, to call for the destruction of stockpiles and to oblige countries to decommission existing mines and is the result of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on
Their Destruction, a legally binding document adopted by 143 countries when it came into force on 1st March, 1999.

Under this Convention, the Secretary-General of the UNO would convoke a Review Conference five years later - the Nairobi Summit.

Thousands of people every year are killed or maimed by land mines and "unexploded ordnance" left behind sometimes decades after a conflict has ended, rendering large swathes of land unpassable. Landmines are not only a threat to the military - in Cambodia, for example, children account for half
of the victims and in Angola, there are 100.000 landmine amputees.

The Summit will request the remaining members of the international community to sign the Convention and thus prevent the continuation of this needless suffering.

Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Libya, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Syria, United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam are the core group of countries which have persistently refused to adopt the terms of the Convention and pressure will be brought on them at the Summit to draw up a timeline for adhesion.

The Russian Federation is in a delicate situation due to the fact that active military operations are taking place inside its territory, waged by agents who do not abide by any Conventions and signing such a treaty at this time would tie Moscow's hands behind its back at a time when it is winning
the war against international terrorism.

As for the United States of America, which does not have a military conflict on its territory, the Bush regime decided in February of this year to overturn the previous decision to join the Convention by 2006, deciding instead to keep landmines in its stockpiles indefinitely.

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