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Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood at the Mine Action Support Group
February 15, 2018

Ambassador Wood’s Remarks to the Mine Action Support Group

U.S. Mission Geneva
Thursday, February 15, 2018

as delivered

Thank you, Stan.

Welcome to the U.S. Mission Geneva.

Let me first congratulate you on your assumption of the chair of the Mine Action Support Group (MASG).  The MASG serves a very important role in the international donor community, and I’m glad to see the United States chairing it again.  It is proof that the United States remains committed to international peace and security through both foreign assistance and robust diplomacy.  But we cannot do it alone, and we need the help of our partners whether they be like-minded states, civil society, or the United Nations.

I know you all have been busy at the National Mine Directors’ Meeting and consulting with your local counterparts.  My colleagues and I at the U.S. Mission in Geneva always look forward to this meeting because it brings together so many members of the humanitarian mine action community, which aligns closely with our mission at the Conference of Disarmament…working toward a safer and more peaceful world.

Today, it is more important than ever to engage in dialogue and constructive cooperation.  With multilateral negotiations, even with parties with common interests, it can take a long time –sometimes a very long time – for participants to see the fruits of their labors.  Discussions on effective implementation in the field, however, can lead to immediate benefits in terms of the safety and security of internally displaced people and refugees in post-conflict areas — which is why this dialogue, this engagement here this week, while not on disarmament per se but on humanitarian demining, remains vital to the ongoing work of the international community in the field of conventional arms.

But whether we’re discussing weapons destruction and stockpile reduction, clearance of landmines and IEDs, or trying to negotiate language in various multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation fora, the goals are the same.  We need to work together as member states, civil society, and international organizations.  Indeed the humanitarian mine action community serves as a model for how different actors, whether governmental or non-governmental, can work together toward a common end.  With that, I want to thank this group for all the hard work you are doing to promote international peace and security, and for the opportunity to speak with you today. Again, thank you very much for being here and thank you for the work you are doing.