- LANDMINES: OTTAWA CONVENTION COMES INTO FORCE - DR CONGO: TONY LLOYD''S VISIT TO THE REGION AS PRIME MINISTER''S SPECIAL ENVOY, 22-26 FEBRUARY - CHANGE OF AMBASSADOR AT TIRANA - MINISTERIAL ENGAGEMENTS
LANDMINES: OTTAWA CONVENTION COMES INTO FORCE
The Ottawa Convention on the banning of landmines comes into force today.
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook issued the following statement:
"I am delighted that the Ottawa Convention has entered into force so quickly. This reflects the international community''s determination to rid the world of these dreadful weapons.
"The UK has been at the forefront of this campaign. We were among the first to sign and ratify the Convention but our work doesn''t stop here. We must secure the widest possible adherence to the ban, and the removal of the millions of mines already laid across the world.
"Our posts overseas have recently carried out a worldwide lobbying exercise aimed at encouraging those countries that have not yet signed and ratified Ottawa to do so as soon as possible."
Last week the Government announced the destruction of the last of the UK''s operational anti-personnel mines, four years ahead of the deadline set in the Convention.
The Government is doubling the annual funding for demining related activities from about #5 million last year to #10 million within two years.
Notes for Editors
1. The Ottawa Convention (full title the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction) was opened for signature in December 1997. To date 160 countries have signed the Convention and over 60 have ratified it. The Convention enters into force on 1 March, six months after the fortieth ratification.
2. The UK was among the first countries to sign the Convention in December 1997 and ratified it on 31 July 1998.
Press Officer: Rosemary Waugh: 0171 270 3100
DR CONGO: TONY LLOYD''S VISIT TO THE REGION AS PRIME MINISTER''S SPECIAL ENVOY, 22-26 FEBRUARY
Foreign Office Minister Tony Lloyd visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries directly or indirectly involved in the conflict from 22-26 February. As the Prime Minister''s Special Envoy, Mr Lloyd met Presidents or their representatives in each country to underline the importance attached by the Government to a peaceful resolution of this conflict.
Mr Lloyd said:
"After my tour of nine African countries it is clear to me that neither side can win this war. It is costing human lives and draining Africa''s scarce resources. In my talks with regional leaders I reminded them that they had to show the political will to end the conflict. What is needed now is a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement to achieve the withdrawal of all foreign troops. Britain will play its part in backing this process though the UN and the international community."
Notes for Editors
1. Mr Lloyd visited the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Uganda and Rwanda (all involved in the conflict) and South Africa (involved in mediation efforts). He also visited Addis Ababa to discuss the problem with the OAU Secretary General.
2. The fighting in DR Congo continues. DRC forces and their Zimbabwean, Angolan and Namibian allies control Kinshasa, the Northwest and much of the South. The rebels and the Rwandans and Ugandans control much of the North and East. Despite intensive fighting, neither side is making significant progress.
3. Zambia and the OAU are leading African efforts to find a negotiated settlement. But they are blocked on two issues: rebel participation/status and a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
4. The Minister explained UK and EU support for the Lusaka process and for maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DR Congo.
Press Officer: Richard Wood: 0171 270 3661
CHANGE OF AMBASSADOR AT TIRANA
Dr Peter January has been appointed Her Majesty''s Ambassador to the Republic of Albania in succession to Stephen Nash, who will be transferring to a new Diplomatic Service appointment.
Dr January will take up his new appointment in April.
Press Officer: Alan Campbell: 0171 270 3764
Full Name: Peter January Date of Birth: 13 January 1952 Marital Status: Single
Career 1995-98 FCO (Permanent Under-Secretary''s Department) 1993-95 FCO (Non Proliferation and Defence Department) 1991-93 MAPUTO (Deputy Head of Mission) 1988-91 FCO (West Indian Atlantic Department) 1985-88 BUDAPEST (First Secretary Commercial) 1985 FCO (Full time language training) 1983-86 FCO (South East Asian Department) 1983 Entered FCO
In addition to their regular official business, FCO Ministers have the following public and parliamentary engagements:
MR FATCHETT 1230 Host Farewell Lunch for Choi Dong-Jin, Korean Ambassador
1530 Shaikh Abdul Aziz Mubarak Al Khalifa, Bahraini Ambassador
1930 Dinner with Nemir Kirdar, Director of Investcorp
MR LLOYD 1800 Attend reception hosted by UK Working Group on Landmines, House of Commons
BARONESS SYMONS 1600 Sir John Caines, Gibraltar Financial Services Commission
1800 Attend Lord Waverley''s reception for Iranian Chamber of Commerce # = pounds sterling