United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Release

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

News Release


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 285-96
May 16, 1996

GENERAL JOHN M. SHALIKASHVILI CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

I strongly endorse the US policy to pursue an international agreement that would effectively ban the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines (APLs). I along with all responsible citizens, abhor the reckless and illegal use of anti-personnel landmines. Such practices have caused countless civilian casualties and incalculable human suffering.

At the same time, my first obligation must be to the safety and security of our men and women in uniform. It is they who must, day-in and day-out, go in harm's way and perform those missions our Nation asks of them. For years, the US military has responsibly employed anti-personnel landmines in accordance with the laws of land warfare. In recent years, this became even more important as US force levels declined and our military restructured.

With these issues in mind, I asked the Joint Staff to undertake a review of our use of APLs, taking into account my responsibility for protecting US forces, as well as the compelling humanitarian dimensions of this issue. In addition, I sought the views of the Joint Chiefs, our unified Commanders in Chief, as well as other experts.

The Chiefs and I concluded that with very limited exceptions, we could immediately terminate the US military's use of non-self-destructing APLs and work toward the ultimate goal of ending our reliance on all anti-personnel landmines.

The Joint Chiefs and I firmly believe that we have charted a prudent and responsible course that will lead to the elimination of all APLs, while continuing to protect American lives. We are convinced it is the right thing to do and there is no doubt the US military must be a leader in this global humanitarian effort.

-->