Minister Martin welcomes historic agreement at Croke Park
Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has hailed the historic agreement to ban cluster munitions which has been agreed by 111 countries at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions which has just concluded at Croke Park.
The Minister said
“The Convention is strong and ambitious. Its ban on cluster munitions is comprehensive. It sets new standards for assistance to victims and for clearing affected areas. And even though we all know that there are important states not present, I am also convinced that together we will have succeeded in stigmatising any future use of cluster munitions.
When we embarked upon this voyage, only fifteen months ago in Oslo, we knew that we required a clear vision, and the determination to maintain the pace and focus on our goal. The work since then has been based on an exemplary partnership between States and civil society, with the UN family of agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross bringing their particular expertise to bear.
It is now time to focus on the future. I suggest that we set ourselves three immediate goals. First, we need to do all that is necessary nationally to allow us to ratify the Convention as soon as possible after signature. For the Irish Government, the preparation of the required domestic legislation has already begun. Once it has been drafted, its enactment will be a priority. I intend to introduce a Bill during the autumn session of the Dáil.
The second goal must be to ensure the greatest possible number of accessions to the Convention. We want ultimately to see it ratified by all Member States of the United Nations. We should work together to explain and argue for its provisions with those who are not here.
Third, we all need to plan to do what is necessary to implement the Convention in full, not least in regard to victim assistance and clearance.
The new Convention has had the best possible start towards universalisation and effective implementation. The spirit in evidence over the past two weeks will launch us on the next phase, to give effect to our words. I am convinced that together we can do this.
It also reminds us as we prepare to vote on the Lisbon Reform Treaty that as a strong self confident country we have nothing to fear from closer involvement with our neighbours and partners working together to find solutions to international problems, be they cluster munitions or global warming. The new Ireland is showing that it can take a lead on the world stage and it is our European Union membership which has helped give us that confidence and that platform.
30 May 2008