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The European Federation of Green Parties, together with the Green parties of Norway and Austria, have uncovered an obscure trade in anti-personnel mines. The mines were exported from Austria after a law against them went into effect there, and after the Norwegian government had announced that its stocks of mines had been emptied. The Austrian Greens have reported the matter to the Austrian State Attorney, while the Norwegian Greens have demanded a date for the final destruction of all arms in Norway that may be used as anti-personnel mines.
Norway recently hosted an international conference aimed at banning all such mines. Both the Norwegian and Austrian governments have assumed leading roles in the work towards an all-inclusive ban on anti-personnel mines, while at the same time continuing to trade in redefined anti-personnel-mines.
Our government is presenting itself as a champion of disarmament while secretly importing and stockpiling mines from countries where such export is banned, says Jan B. Vindheim of the Norwegian Green Party. As yet we have no legal ban on personnel mines in Norway, but the import is clearly in breach of the parliamentary resolution on personnel mines of June 5, 1995. We demand an immediate stop to all imports of landmines and a public explanation from the defense minister.
The law banning anti-personnel mines went into force in Austria on January 1, 1997, but a consignment of 12,100 DFC-19 mines valued about $3 million was delivered to Norway by the Austrian producer Dynamic Nobel Graz on January 31, 1997. These mines are identical to the previous category "APM-19" (Anti-personnel Mine 19), but have been reclassified as "Directed Fragmentation Charges." Being identical to the M19 they are, in all probability, still usable as anti-personnel mines.
Since 1991 Norway has bought anti-personnel mines from Austria worth about $30 million, despite the fact that on June 6, 1995 Stortinget (the Norwegian Parliament) unanimously decided to work for a total ban on production, stockpiling and trade in anti-personnel mines.
The European Greens and the Norwegian Greens have strongly denounced this trade and demanded that a date be set immediately for the final destruction of all Norwegian arms that may be used as anti-personnel mines.
Franz Floss (European Greens (+43) 1-52125 218
Torleif Johnsen (Green Party of Norway) (+47) 22 42 97 58
From European Federation of Green Parties' UPDATE NEWSLETTER, Sept., 1997