Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Anti-personnel mines

Delivered in Plenary 6th September 2001

Mr President

I speak on behalf of my colleague Mr Van Orden, who is absent today but who for many years has been directly involved in the work of overcoming the scourge of anti-personnel landmines.

Most EU Member States no longer have anti-personnel landmines in the operational armouries of their armed forces. These weapons have indeed been banned for the past four years. It is only irresponsible armed forces such as those in former Yugoslavia and armed groups of non-state actors engaged in civil war and insurgency that continue to use these dreadful weapons.

By definition such groups are not party to the Ottawa Convention to ban landmines. This resolution draws attention to the fact and seeks to find ways in which these groups can be influenced. This requires very careful consideration as we must take great care that we do not imply any sort of recognition of the legitimacy of these groups or of their actions. We do not wish to distract EU resources from the priority task of mine clearance and assistance to mine victims. We wish to bring this matter to the attention of all the states party to the Ottawa Convention that will gather in Managua in Nicaragua later this month.