Armenia Reluctant to Join Ban on Land Mines

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement Monday concerning the ban on land mines convention to be signed this December in Ottawa.

The statement–read by Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Arsen Gasparian–stressed that Armenia welcomed efforts by the international community on the ban of production–accumulation–transportation and use of land mines–and viewed the convention as an important step in "liquidation of one of the most inhumane kinds of weapons."

However–pursuing national interests connected with the security of the state and taking into consideration the defensive importance of land mines–the statement said Armenia was confident the dangers of land mines would not overbalance its defensive and military importance.

Armenian officials were optimistic that negotiations conducted within the disarmament forum operating in Geneva may lead to the signing of an agreement on the ban of land mines which would be acceptable.

However–Armenia does not think that a decision to adhere to the ban on land mines would be correct at this juncture. Such a position–it says–would be motivated by the fact that Azerbaijan does not want to discuss the possibility of joining the convention.

According to data provided by Armenia’s foreign ministry–6,000 to 8,000 mines have been installed along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.

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