International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) together with the American Chamber of Commerce organized for the seventh time the event “Night of a 1000 Dinners” to support the demining activities and mine victim rehabilitation. On charity dinner co-hosted by the Embassies of United States and Canada the amount of 47.500 EUR was raised to support two demining projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The amount raised will be matched with the same amount by the United States of America.
Funds raised this year will be dedicated in support of two de-mining projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely for University area of Unsko Sanski Canton, vicinity of Biha? where the university center is planned to be built together with campus, kitchen, sport playground and park with walking areas as well as for mine affected areas of Zeni?ko Dubojski Canton for reconstruction of water reservoir for 100 people of Pasin Konak village.
Numerous guests were welcomed by His Excellency Dr. Dimitrij Rupel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and President of the European Union General Affairs and External Relation Council, Mr. Tomaz Lovse, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia. On behalf of the hosts of the event, all guests were welcomed by United States Chargé d'Affaires Maryruth Coleman and Canadian Ambassador Pierre Guimond. His Excellency Mr. Izmir Talic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Slovenia and Mr. Goran Gacnik, Director of International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) thanked all guests for their contribution in support of fight against landmines in South Eastern Europe.
STATEMENT BY DR DIMITRIJ RUPEL, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA
LJUBLJANA, 27 MARCH 2008
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is both an honour and a pleasure for me to welcome you at this humanitarian event. Night of a Thousand Dinners is a global fundraiser, where individuals host widely diverse events to raise money for mine clearance. A simple concept - gathering with friends and building a global community to support a common cause has energized citizens and has grown into an international phenomenon. Since its launch in 2001, thousands of gatherings have been held in over 50 countries raising millions of dollars for mine action.
Beyond maiming and killing tens of thousands of individuals each year, one third of them children, landmines prevent reconstruction in post-war societies. They hinder the development of farms, roads, schools, and other necessary infrastructure, preventing communities from becoming economically self-sufficient.
Slovenia considers the stabilization of South Eastern Europe to be a high priority. But no progress can be made without solving the mine-problem first, since this region is still one of the most seriously mine-affected regions in the world. Our experience there has taught us that the problem may be solved most effectively by taking the following measures: establishing national mine action authorities, setting national legislative and other standards for Mine Action and encouraging mine-affected states to organize their projects regionally. That is why Slovenia has been, for several years now, promoting and supporting the regional approach to Mine Action.
I would also like to congratulate the International Trust Fund for becoming an effective mechanism in addressing the landmine problem. Despite the projects planned outside the region, the stabilization of South Eastern Europe remains the focus of the Fund’s activities. I am convinced that through reliable work and with the continued support of the donor states – to which I wish to reiterate our gratitude – we will achieve our common goal: a mine-free South Eastern Europe. We are also looking forward to the future projects, namely some donors have already suggested to the ITF to spread its activities to solve the problem of small arms and light weapons. Dear Mr Ga?nik, in the name of the Government of Slovenia, I would like to thank you for your successful leadership of this valuable humanitarian organisation.