GENEVA, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka will accede to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention, and hopefully the international community will support its ongoing landmine clearance program, a high-ranking diplomat said here on Wednesday.
Ravinatha Aryasinha, the ambassador of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, announced the news during a conference pledging landmine action conducted here on Wednesday.
"I am pleased to inform, that at a meeting of cabinet ministers held early this morning, it was approved that Sri Lanka accedes to the convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpile, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction," the diplomat said.
The pledging conference was to provide states with a public forum to pledge their support for mine action.
"This is the time to appeal to all countries that have the financial, material or technical resources to assist mine-affected countries; and for mine-affected states to announce national commitments to their mine action and victim assistance programs for a mine-free world by 2025," said ambassador Marta Mauras of Chile as treaty president.
The Ottawa Convention was adopted on Sept. 18, 1997 and entered into force on March 1, 1999. The landmark humanitarian and disarmament treaty seeks to end the suffering caused by landmines.
By joining the convention, each state undertakes to destroy all stockpiled anti-personnel mines it owns or that are under its jurisdiction or control, not later than four years after the entry into force of this convention.
According to the latest figure, to date, 162 states have joined the convention with 158 of these reporting that they no longer hold stocks, in total, have destroyed over 47 million stockpiled landmines.