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Australia appoints Special Representative on Demining.

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FA 35

31 MARCH 1998




I am pleased to announce the appointment today of the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Kathy Sullivan, as Australia's Special Representative on Demining.


The appointment of a Special Representative on Demining underlines the priority the Government places on building a solution to the global landmines problem. Addressing the scourge of landmines has been a key goal of the Government's foreign policy and its development cooperation program. Australia's efforts to achieve a global landmines ban are complemented by our support for programs which remove or reduce the threat of landmines and assist and rehabilitate their victims. This gives the most immediate, practical effect to Australia's commitment to ridding the world of these weapons.


The current international focus on the landmines problem represents the best opportunity the world has had to put in place long-term solutions to this issue. Mrs Sullivan will play a key role in ensuring that Australia's demining efforts are coordinated in a way which maximises their impact in the field, and in encouraging the most effective global coordination of international donor resources in the demining and victim assistance area.


Australia is now contributing more than ever to global mine clearance and victim assistance. The Government anticipates allocating in excess of $100 million for demining and related programs by 2005. The Australian Defence Force will continue to provide specialist personnel to international humanitarian mine clearance efforts. The Government's efforts will continue to be guided by our determination to maximise the practical impact of our contributions.


In parallel with Mrs Sullivan's appointment, the Government has begun the domestic consultation process required under the reformed treaty ratification procedures to enable ratification of the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use, transfer, production and stockpiling of landmines. I signed the Ottawa Treaty on Australia's behalf in Ottawa last December. The Government hopes to be in a position to ratify the Treaty well before the end of 1998.


In addition, Australia is continuing its efforts in the Conference on Disarmament to engage those countries remaining outside the Ottawa Treaty in the search for a truly global ban on anti-personnel landmines.


Media contacts: Innes Willox, 0411 414 695


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