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Muscat, Brussels – Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, in her capacity as a special envoy of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention, has welcomed the decision of the Sultanate of Oman to join the treaty that bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
Princess Astrid, while on a trade mission to Oman, met with the Sultanate’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, to encourage Oman to further its engagement in the international movement to eradicate anti-personnel mines by joining the landmark disarmament and humanitarian treaty.
Oman’s Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to Princess Astrid’s appeal by informing her that the Sultanate had taken the decision to join the Convention.
Princess Astrid of Belgium with (L) Didier Reynders Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs of Belgium and (R) Oman's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah. Photo issued by Belgium.
Princess Astrid welcomed Oman's decision. “Accession to the Convention by yet another state in the Persian Gulf will help strengthen the movement to eradicate anti-personnel mines not only in the region but in the rest of the world and ensure the Convention’s continued effectiveness,” said Princess Astrid.
“Every new accession is important,” added Princess Astrid. “There is no conceivable utility of anti-personnel mines that could outweigh and justify the devastating humanitarian cost of these weapons.”
Oman, which, for the past few years, has been attending the Convention’s formal meetings as an observer, had publicly expressed that it shared "wholeheartedly in the aims of the campaign for a total global ban.”
The Landmine Monitor reports that Oman has never produced or exported anti-personnel mines and that it has not bought or used landmines in almost two decades.
Princess Astrid announced in 2013 that she would join in European Union-sponsored, worldwide efforts to promote the humanitarian aims of the Convention at a high level.
In addition to Princess Astrid, Prince Mired of Jordan and Colombian landmine advocate and Grammy-award winner Juanes have joined these efforts.
Since 2000, Princess Astrid has represented Belgium in several of the Convention’s formal meetings including in Geneva, Thailand, Jordan and Colombia.
Princess Astrid visits the REI Rehabilitation Centre for landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities in Colombia.
Belgium was one of the first countries to call for a total ban on landmines and join the Convention.
The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force on 1 March 1999.
Since entering into force, millions of square metres of once dangerous lands have been released for normal human activity and over 44.5 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed.