“After all, the Convention is a living instrument that can be modernized to meet new security challenges,” he said in a statement delivered by Enrique Roman-Morey, Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament. “It saves lives and reduces suffering while protecting the security interests of the State Parties.”Noting that the scope of the Convention was expanded in 2001 to cover internal armed conflicts and that since then, only 35 countries have ratified that amendment, Mr. Annan urged the remaining states to do so “without delay.”Mr. Annan also voiced hope that a new protocol adopted in 2003 would be ratified by more nations. So far, only three countries have ratified that amendment, which was designed to protect civilians and humanitarian workers in post-conflict settings from the daily threat of explosive remnants of war.The UN chief also hoped that the Group of Governmental Experts would soon be able to recommend “the strongest possible commitment” regarding mines other than anti-personnel mines, an issue on which “a wealth of information was now available.”The Group, which was formed by the Second Review Conference in 2001, provides a forum for reinforcing the international norms established by the Convention with regard to explosive remnants of war and mines other than anti-personnel mines, as well as on compliance issues.Mr. Annan also appealed to the State Parties to consider what further steps could be taken to prevent weapons from becoming explosive remnants of war and to minimize their “devastating humanitarian impact.”So far, 97 countries have ratified the Convention.