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Greece announces accession to Protocol V of the CCW

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Greece, Ambassador Alexandros Alexandris to the Eighth Conference on CCW Protocol V (Geneva, 10 November 2014)

Greece announces accession to Protocol V of the CCW

Dear Madam President,

At the outset allow me to congratulate you on the assumption of your duties as President of this important Conference and to wish you every success in your endeavours. Greece fully aligns itself with the statement just delivered by the European Union.

We have taken the floor to formally announce that on 21 October 2014 Greece submitted to the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations in New York its National Instrument of Ratification of the "Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects", adopted in Geneva on 28 November 2003, for deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Our accession to Protocol V, in conjunction with our earlier accession to the CCW and its other four Protocols, demonstrates, on the one hand, Greece's unwavering commitment to strengthening IHL and, on the other, its conviction that the CCW is the most appropriate legal framework to address issues pertaining to conventional weapons.

Greece announces accession to Protocol V of the CCW

Madam President,

Notwithstanding Greece's accession to Protocol V, according to national law the Hellenic Armed Forces have over the years taken all the necessary measures to minimize the risks and effects of Explosive Remnants of War, through the conduct of extensive surveys, marking as well as clearing operations of suspect areas, which have then been released for civilian use. To date, the Greek Army has already released 600 former suspect areas, which correspond to 25,000,000 square metres. At this point, it should be stressed that the explosive remnants of war in Greece, which date back to the Second World War period and its immediate aftermath, fall under the definition of "Existing explosive remnants of war" as stipulated in Article 2.5 of the Protocol and, hence, under the specific regime provided in this regard by the provisions of the Protocol.

As far as the way forward is concerned, despite the fact that all the suspect areas of the existing explosive remnants of war in Greece are well known and marked, due to the vast area concerned and the almost inaccessible nature of the terrain in these suspect areas, the remaining clearance activities required are the subject of an ongoing technical study conducted by the Hellenic Armed Forces.

Furthermore, and with regard to the dissemination of information related to the Protocol's provisions, the Hellenic Armed Forces continue to plan and implement specific outreach activities to local communities in areas affected by the existing ERW.

Finally, as far as the marking of the suspect areas is concerned, the Hellenic Armed Forces monitor closely all the suspect areas and update their marking activities, in accordance with relevant international standards. In this respect, an electronic database has been set up, in which all suspect areas are registered and monitored.

In closing, Madam President, I would like to once again express my country's full commitment to the CCW and to the principles which it enshrines.

Thank you for your attention.

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