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Finland to become 159th State Party of Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

(Xinhua)

17:22, November 28, 2011

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Finland will join the Anti- Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention, soon after the Parliament approved the accession on Nov. 25, minister of Finland's international development Heidei Hautala announced on Monday.

"We will deposit our instrument of accession with the UN Secretary General in the coming weeks,"she said during the 11th Meeting of the States Parties (11MSP) of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention held in Phnom Penh's Peace Palace."We, Finland, will become the 159th State Party of the Ottawa Convention."

She said that Finland has always had a responsible mine policy and the country's mines have been acquired for defensive purposes only and they have been stored in stockpiles that are in the possession of the Finnish Defense Forces.

Finland, she said, has more than one million anti-personnel landmines in stock and the country is going to destroy all of them by 2016.

The 11MSP kicked off in Cambodia on Sunday and will last until Dec. 2.

More than 100 State Parties of the convention and 10 observing countries including the United States, China, Russia, Myanmar, and Singapore have been attending the meeting.

The Ottawa Convention is formally the convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti- personnel mines and on their destruction. It was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force in 1999.

To date, 158 states have joined the convention with 153 of these reporting that they no longer hold stocks of anti-personnel mines and over 44.5 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed by the States Parties.

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