Mongolia closer to anti land-mine Convention membership

Jordan’s Prince Mired Bin Raad
Al-Hussein
Jordan’s Royal Highness Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan is encouraging Mongolia to accelerate its progress toward membership in the international treaty banning antipersonnel mines, and to destroy its existing inventory of these weapons.
As the Special Envoy on the Universalization of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, he promotes acceptance of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, stockpiling Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines – the so-called “Ottawa Convention”. He served as President of the Eighth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention in November 2007. Since 2004, he has Chaired Jordan’s National Committee for De-mining and Rehabilitation. From 2000 he served as President of the Hashemite Commission for Disabled Soldiers and Vice President of the Higher Council for Persons with Disabilities. He has extensive military experience completing the Graduate Officers Course in Military Studies and Officer Training at the British Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1990, preceded by two years of military conscription to the Jordanian Armed Forces (1987 – 1989). He followed this with further service to the Jordanian Armed Forces as Special Forces Officer (1990-1991) and as a Military Intelligence Officer (1991- 1994). From 1995 to 1997 he served as Security and Intelligence Officer with Jordanian Security (1995–1997).
Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein meeting Prime Minister S.Batbold
Prince Mired holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and History and a Master of Arts in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Tufts University in the USA. He also holds a Masters of Philosophy Degree in Historical Studies from the University of Cambridge, England. Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein visited Ulaanbaatar from October 2 to 6 in his capacity as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention’s President’s Special Envoy on the Universalization of the Convention. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassy of Canada hosted the visit.
During his visit, his Highness met Prime Minister S. Batbold; Deputy Foreign Minister B. Bolor; Member of Parliament Z. Enkhbold; Chairperson of the Standing committee on Foreign Policy and Security, Major General Ts. Byambajav; Chief of General staff, D. Baatarjav and the President of the Mongolian Disabled Citizen’s Association and visited the military unit to see Mongolia’s stockpiles of anti-personnel mines.
On October 4, Deputy Foreign Minister B. Bolor met His Highness and told him Mongolia supports the Ottawa Convention’s goals and principles and expressed his hope that Mongolia could join the convention. He said that the Convention’s sympathetic goals and main principles meet Mongolia’s foreign policy ideology declared to ensure its national security with political and diplomatic means so the country supported the treaty. Mr Bolor also identified the problems faced by Mongolia in joining the Convention.
On October 5, Prime Minister S. Batbold met the Prince and stressed Mongolia reaffirmed its willingness to join the Ottawa Treaty during the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly during his official visit to Canada. He said, “Friendly bilateral cooperation between our countries has been developing successfully since 1981, when diplomatic ties were established.
Additionally, the two countries have been cooperating and supporting each within the frame of the UN and international organizations.” Mr Batbold thanked the Government of Jordan for supporting Mongolia by nominating it in the election of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2010-2011.
Before his departure, the Prince was interviewed by The Mongol Messenger Editor -in-Chief, Borkhondoin Indra :
MM: This your first visit to Mongolia? What is the priority issue for you?
PM: Yes. It’s the first time .The reason that I have come to Mongolia is in regard to the Anti Personnel Mine Ban Convention, also called the Ottawa Convention. Three years ago I was president of the convention for one year.(it is rotating presidency). This year the President of the Convention, a Norwegian diplomat, Susan Eckey, asked me to be the special envoyambassador for the Convention to promote Universalization of the Convention and that’s why I‘m here in Mongolia. Mongolia has not yet been accepted to the Convention so my goal was to meet Mongolian officials to try to see if there was a possibility for Mongolia to accede to the Convention. I am very hopeful and we look forward to that day.
MM: What results you did you hope for from this visit?
PM: I think the meetings went very well. I was pleased to see that Mongolia’s commitment to accede to the Convention is real and I am hopeful that Mongolia will be able to join the Convention soon. Mongolia does not have land mine problem in the ground – it has a stockpile problem and will have to deal with it. For Mongolia, it’s a challenge that is much easier to address than in other land mine-affected countries.
MM: You say it’s easier to address compared to another countries–is this because we only have a stockpile problem?
PM: Easier, I mean compared with counties that have land mines underground because those countries have to take the mines out of the ground. It is much more difficult to de-mine large areas and very difficult, very costly. You need much more money, more expertise. To destroy a stockpile is easier, more simple – so a much simpler problem.
MM: What part does Mongolia play with Anti-Personnel mines and how can it contribute to their classification for national security?
PM: You know, this is common view now globally, internationally that land mines have no use and are not important any more. Long time ago, land mines had some value, some strategic value–they could be seen as important weapons–but not now–land mines no longer have the same importance.
Landmines are now insignificant in that any modern army that can very easily cross any mine field. There is no reason for land mines. They stay in the ground for many years after the conflict has finished and it is usually poor women, men, girls and boys who become victims of land mines. Who has to bear the responsibility? We are all responsible in that we can all play a role in ending this scourge.
MM: Where do we stand on having their locations excluded from State Secrets?
PM: The Mongolian government has been very transparent and very accommodating. Yesterday we went out to see big anti-personnel stockpile, we took photos, it was very transparent which is fantastic. I congratulate Mongolian military and government for being open, for transparency on this issue. It not a secret and not an effective weapon anyway.
MM: What do you hope to achieve from your visit?
PM: I think I already achieved a lot. We gained more information and engaged with the Mongolian Government. I was very happy to meet the Prime Minister, the Chief of Staff, Deputy Foreign Minister and Member of Parliament. I think my visit has been very successful. When I listened to them, I also conveyed my concerns and my views on this matter. I look forward very much to the day when Mongolia will accede to the Convention and I hope that will be soon.
MM: When the Ottawa Convention Treaty came into force, 156 counties joined. Will Mongolia be the 157th?
PM: If Mongolia accedes, it will be the 157th. We hope the US will also join in the near future. This will also fantastic, Mongolia and the US join at the same time.
MM: Our country, during international conferences and visits has confirmed its stance in joining the convention. How many steps will it take?
PM:As I understand it, the remaining questions concern the destruction of Mongolia’s existing stockpile of landmines. I know that this need not be complicated or expensive. If Mongolia requires financial or technical assistance, it has a right to request this in accordance with the terms of the Convention.
I hope that my visit has made it clear that if Mongolia is prepared to join the international community in eliminating anti-personnel mines, the international community stands ready to assist Mongolia in doing so. This leads us to the final step: the political decision to complete the accession process and formally agreeing to be bound by the Convention. To costs to Mongolia in taking this final step are negligible but the benefits that would flow would be great in terms of Mongolia taking centre stage in this important global issue. Landmines in our modern day and age have no use anymore and are not important weapons any more. Many countries are destroying stockpiles and clearing large areas that once were minefields. We want Mongolia to participate in the campaign against this terrible weapon.
MM: Which Asian counties joined to Ottawa convention? What is the situation at the Asian region?
PM: From the Asian region Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Japan have joined the Convention, but China, North Korea and South Korea, Burma and Singapore have not yet joined.
The last countries to join the Convention where Kuwait and Iraq and Palau–two years ago–these three countries joined together roughly at the same time. This was fantastic to see membership from two important countries like Kuwait and Iraq. I hope more countries join the convention because this adds strength and importance and sheds light on the Convention to continue working on this issue. We need donor countries, we need counties to stay engaged and focused, to continue to believe, and this one reason we need to work to Universalize the issue, it brings light to this issue.
We still have a long long way to go until we clear this big problem in countries like. Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, which still have huge problems. We need to continue to seek support and attention from the world community on this issue.
MM: As the Special Envoy which counties have you are visited?
PM: In the beginning of the year, I went to the US and held meetings in Washington DC about the same issue. I asked the US about their position and if it planned to join the Convention. This was my first visit in 2010. I also went to Laos, to Vientiane to discuss the issue and maybe will go later this year I will have one more trip and some next year as well.
MM: What do you think about Mongolia?
PM:You have a very beautiful country. I had a chance to go outside of UB twice. You have a fantastic big country with lots of resources. You should be very proud of you beautiful country.
source: Mongol Messenger newspaper
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