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Agenda items 57, 58 and 60 to 73 ( continued)
Action on all draft resolutions submitted under all disarmament and international security agenda items
Mr. Sattar (Secretary of the Committee): The Committee will now take a decision on draft resolution A/C.1/57/L.31, entitled “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region”, which was introduced by the representative of Algeria at the Committee’s 16th meeting, on 18 October 2002. The sponsors are listed in document A/C.1/57/L.31 and in document A/C.1/57/INF/2. In addition, Albania and Georgia have become sponsors of the draft resolution.
The Chairman: The sponsors of the draft resolution have expressed the wish that it be adopted by the Committee without a vote. If I hear no objection, I shall take it that the Committee wishes to act accordingly.
Draft resolution A/C.1/57/L.31 was adopted.
Mr. Assaf (Lebanon) (spoke in Arabic ): Allow me to express my delegation’s regret for having to abstain in the vote on the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. I emphasize that we were forced to do so, because that was our only choice. In that regard, I apologize to the delegation of Belgium, which sponsored this resolution, and to the other sponsors, for the fact that my country could not be one of the countries that voted in favour of the draft resolution.
The reason for that is that one of the Middle Eastern countries — Israel — still publicly states its refusal to accede to the Convention. My country has suffered most from landmines, following the end of the Israeli occupation in 2000. Israel left behind more than 450,000 mines. This statistic was provided by the United Nations, based on information that it received from its peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. It is clear that Lebanon will continue to suffer for decades before it succeeds in totally clearing those mines. Since 24 May 2000, when Israel withdrew, more than 15 Lebanese have died as a result of those mines and more than 100 Lebanese citizens have been wounded, some of whom were totally disabled.
Yesterday, the Israeli representative gave us the good news that his country has refrained from or has stopped producing landmines. We hope that that is true. However, we wish to ask him the following question: if Israel has stopped producing mines and when it withdrew from Lebanon, it left behind 450,000 mines, how many more mines would it have left behind if it continued to produce them?
In that context, we renew our appeal to Israel to accede to the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Landmines to enable other countries to do the same and thus be able to give this Convention the universality it requires.
The meeting rose at 5.10 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.