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Thursday, March 11, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAR 11, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given on March 8 by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, to the Seventh Group of Governmental Experts on the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibition or Restriction on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW). The committee is meeting in Geneva from March 8 to 12.

The nuncio stated that "the multilateral negotiations of arms control or of disarmament still remain slow and long, and results are reached almost always on the basis of the lowest common denominator. On the contrary, the production of new conventional arms follows the most advanced and the most rapid scientific and technological discoveries," resulting in ever more devastating weapons and "useless human suffering." He pointed to the increasing use of cluster bombs, highlighting their "traumatizing and devastating effects on civilian populations as well as the negative socio-economic consequences."

"The Holy See," said Archbishop Tomasi, "is involved in a great number of countries of all the regions, in initiatives concerning victims of armed conflicts and their families, including victims of anti personnel mines and explosive remnants of war." He stressed that "prevention is surely less costly in terms of human lives and socio-economic damage. A culture of prevention is the most appropriate in order to ensure a security which is based on justice, trust and cooperation between States. For that reason, the right equilibrium should be that of an armament maintained at the lowest level and whose effects would bring about minimal suffering and damages."

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