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Anti-mine advocate urges Sri Lanka to champion mine ban treaty

Special Envoy of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein said he hoped Sri Lanka would become a strong advocate for the treaty.

Prince Mired was speaking after a meeting with Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana at the Foreign Ministry on Monday.

“Congratulating Sri Lanka for acceding to the Convention, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein expressed hope that Sri Lanka would become a strong advocate for the Convention,” the Foreign Ministry tweeted.

Sri Lanka acceded to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, commonly known as the “Ottowa Convention,” in December.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said Sri Lanka has been an advocate for the convention even before adopting it last year.

She pointed to the country’s mine clearing programme, which began in 2002, as an example.

“During his official visit, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein will call on President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Ministry sources said.

“Prince Mired will also visit the Northern Province with the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Minister to witness mine clearance activities, and meet with land mine victims,” Ministry sources said.

The government hopes to make the country mine-free by 2020. 164 states have adopted the Ottowa Convention since it opened for signature in 1997.

Sri Lanka is one of the only countries in the region to have signed it. India, Pakistan, and Nepal have not signed the Convention.