Geneva — Angola as a signatory of the Ottawa Convention on the destruction of anti-personnel landmines is strongly committed to fulfilling the best possible way all its obligations, said the chairman of the Inter-sectoral Demining and Humanitarian Assistance Commission (CNIDAH), Santana Andrè Pitra Petroff).
The official was speaking on Monday in Geneva (Switzerland), while addressing the 12th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention.
Santana Andre Pitra indicated that under the Angolan Constitution and other legal documents, there are laws that prohibit the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and other lethal means that could attract legal and action to suppress any prohibited activity.
He stressed that as part of its obligations, and to fully abide by them, Angola has requested an extension of five years to comply with the article 5 that demands the engagement of the member states in the destruction of all anti-personnel landmines in mined areas under their jurisdiction or control over a period of ten years after the ratification of the Convention.
"It is common knowledge that Angola was one of the most mined countries in Africa and the Angolan people still thinks that the anti-personnel mines continue to be violators of the basic political, civil, cultural and socio-economic development of the country," he said.
"The strong desire of the Angolan people to see an Angola without mines, made it also to become one of the strategic objectives of the Angolan executive," Petroff said, adding that It is not an easy task "to demine a country like ours, with more than thirty years of war and with the government to bear the main costs of demining, as the traditional donors conference for this purpose never existed. "
In sustaining the request for the extension until 2018, Santana André Pitra pointed, among other constraints, the period for intervention in the mined areas which is only six months, due to the rains, as well as a national mine action strategy for 2006-2011.
"One of our assumptions of the request for extension is the density of contamination that your analysis group questions. For us, the density is typified by the kind of wars that Angola suffered (anti-colonial guerrilla war against a regular army, foreign invasions and civil war without rules concerning the mine planting principles), which is an atypical density," he stressed.
Winding up his speech, the CNIDAH chairman assured that "Angola will run a set of technical and administrative , logistical and operational activities to clearly identify the results and determine the remaining challenges."
The 12th Meeting of Ottawa Convention on the destruction of anti-personnel landmines continues on Tuesday, with a stress to the submission of requests for extension by Cyprus and Zimbabwe, as well as an address by the analysis group.