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U.S. Leads in Land Mine Removals While Others Talk
Remarks by President Clinton during a White House press conference on land mines, National Security Council, White House, Wednesday, September 17, 1997

Defense Issues: Volume 12, Number 47-- U.S. Leads in Land Mine Removals While Others Talk Every year, land mines kill or maim more than 25,000 people -- children, women, farmers peacefully going about their business. The United States leads the world in eliminating these indiscriminate weapons.

 

Volume 12, Number 47

U.S. Leads in Land Mine Removals While Others Talk

Remarks by President Clinton during a White House press conference on land mines, followed by press briefing with Robert Bell, special assistant to the president and senior director for defense policy and arms control, National Security Council, White House, Sept. 17, 1997.

Clinton. I want to talk now about what the United States has done and what we will continue to do to lead the world toward the elimination of anti-personnel land mines.

Every year, land mines kill or maim more than 25,000 people -- children, women, farmers peacefully going about their business. That is why since I called for the global elimination of land mines in 1994, the United States has been at the forefront of the effort to ban them -- not just in words, but in actual, concrete deeds.

Eighteen months ago, I ordered a ban on the most dangerous types of land mines, those that remain active and dangerous long after soldiers have left the scene. These are the mines that are causing all the damage around the world today. These hidden killers prey on innocent civilians. They are responsible for the horrific mutilation of children from Angola to Cambodia to Bosnia.

In the months since I ordered that ban, the United States has destroyed 1.5 million of these land mines. By 1999, we will have destroyed all the rest in our stockpiles, another 1.5 million, with the exception of our mines at the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, the Cold War's last frontier.

The United States has also led the world in the effort to remove existing land mines, again not with talk, but with action that has saved lives. Since 1993, we have devoted $153 million to this cause. Our experts have helped to remove mines in 15 nations. They have trained and equipped roughly one-quarter of all the people who work at this effort around the world.

These efforts are paying off. In the areas of Cambodia where we've been active, the death rates for land mines has dropped by one-half. In Namibia, the casualty rate has fallen 90 percent. These efforts do not come without real cost and sacrifice. The C-141 plane that went down in that terrible collision off the coast of Africa on Monday in which nine Air Force crew members were lost had just carried a unit of special forces de-mining experts to Namibia.

Last month, I instructed a U.S. team to join negotiations then under way in Oslo to ban all anti-personnel land mines. Our negotiators worked tirelessly to reach an agreement we could sign. Unfortunately, as it is now drafted, I cannot in good conscience add America's name to that treaty. So let me explain why.

Our nation has unique responsibilities for preserving security and defending peace and freedom around the globe. Millions of people from Bosnia to Haiti, Korea to the Persian Gulf are safer as a result. And so is every American. The men and women who carry out that responsibility wear our uniform with pride and as we learned in the last few days, at no small risk to themselves. They wear it secure in the knowledge, however, that we will always, always do everything we can to protect our own.

As commander in chief, I will not send our soldiers to defend the freedom of our people and the freedom of others without doing everything we can to make them as secure as possible. For that reason, the United States insisted that two provisions be included in the treaty negotiated at Oslo. First, we needed an adequate transition period to phase out the anti-personnel mines we now use to protect our troops, giving us time to devise alternative technologies. Second, we needed to preserve the anti-tank mines we rely upon to slow down an enemy's armor defensive in a battle situation.

These two requests are not abstract considerations. They reflect the very dangerous reality we face on the ground as a result of our global responsibilities. Take the Korean Peninsula. There, our 37,000 troops and their South Korean allies face an army of 1 million North Koreans only 27 miles away from Seoul, Korea. They serve there, our troops do, in the name and under the direct mandate of the international community.

In the event of an attack, the North's overwhelming numerical advantage can only be countered if we can slow down its advance, call in reinforcements and organize our defense. Our anti-personnel mines there are a key part of our defense line in Korea. They are deployed along a DMZ [demilitarized zone] where there are no villages and no civilians. Therefore, they, too, are not creating the problem we are trying to address in the world.

We also need anti-tank mines there to deter or stop an armored assault against our troops -- the kind of attack our adversaries would be most likely to launch. These anti-tank mines self-destruct or deactivate themselves when the battle is over, and therefore, they pose little risk to civilians.

We will continue to seek to deter a war that would cost countless lives. But no one should expect our people to expose our armed forces to unacceptable risks.

Now, we were not able to gain sufficient support for these two requests. The final treaty failed to include a transition period during which we could safely phase out our anti-personnel land mines, including in Korea. And the treaty would have banned the anti-tank mines our troops rely on from the outskirts of Seoul to the desert border of Iraq and Kuwait -- and this, in spite of the fact that other nations' anti-tank systems are explicitly permitted under the treaty.

We went the extra mile and beyond to sign this treaty. And again, I want to thank Secretary [of Defense William S.] Cohen and [Army] Gen. [John M.] Shalikashvili [then-chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff] and especially I'd like to thank [Air Force] Gen. [Joseph W.] Ralston [vice chairman, joint Chiefs of Staff] for the enormous effort that was made and the changes in positions and the modifications in positions that the Joint Chiefs made, not once, but three times, to try to move our country closer to other countries so that in good faith we could sign this treaty.

But there is a line that I simply cannot cross, and that line is the safety and security of our men and women in uniform. America will continue to lead in ending the use of all anti-personnel mines. The offer we made at Oslo remains on the table. We stand ready to sign a treaty that meets our fundamental and unique security requirements. With an adequate transition period to a world free of anti-personnel land mines, this goal is within reach.

As further evidence of our commitment, I am announcing today a series of steps America will take on its own to advance our efforts to rid the world of land mines. First, I'm directing the Department of Defense to develop alternatives to anti-personnel land mines so that by the year 2003 we can end even the use of self-destruct land mines -- that is, those, again, that are not causing the problem today because they destroy themselves on their own after a short period of time. We want to end even the use of these land mines, everywhere but Korea.

As for Korea, my directive calls for alternatives to be ready by 2006, the time period for which we were negotiating in Oslo. By setting these deadlines, we will speed the development of new technologies that I asked the Pentagon to start working on last year. In short, this program will eliminate all anti-personnel land mines from America's arsenal.

Second, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [Air Force Gen.] David Jones has agreed to be a personal adviser to me and to Secretary Cohen to help us make sure the job gets done. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a concern for the safety of our troops second to none, and in recent years he's been a powerful, eloquent voice for banning land mines. There's no better man for the task, and I thank him for accepting it.

Third, we will significantly increase our demining programs. No nation devotes more expertise or resources to the problem than we do today. Next year, we currently plan to provide $68 million for worldwide demining efforts -- almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We will begin demining work in as many as eight new countries, including Chad, Zimbabwe and Lebanon.

But we can, and will, do more. I am proposing that we increase funding for demining by about 25 percent beginning next year. We must improve our research and development to find new ways to detect, remove and dispose of these land mines. We must increase assistance to land mine victims to help them heal and take their place as productive members of their societies. And we must expand our training programs so that nations that are plagued by land mines can themselves do more to clear away these deadly devices. Every mine removed from the ground is another child potentially saved.

Fourth, we will redouble our efforts to establish serious negotiations for a global anti-personnel land mine ban in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We will begin by seeking an export ban next year and one that applies to the major land mine producers, the people who themselves caused this problem because they're making and selling these land mines. None of them were present in Oslo. In the end, we have to get them on board as well.

I am determined to work closely with the Congress, with Sen. [Patrick J.] Leahy, Sen. [Charles T.] Hagel and others, to implement this package because I think together we can take another step in the elimination of land mines that will be decisive.

In that connection, let me say I had a brief visit with Sen. Leahy today, and I think that there's no way I can say enough about what he has done. He is a genuine worldwide leader in this effort. He has been recognized around the world. He has worked with us very closely. And I thank him, and I'm confident that we can do more by working together.

I believe, and I think everyone in the United States and everyone leading the Pentagon believes, that every man, woman and child in this world should be able to walk the Earth in safety, that we should do everything we can to guarantee this right and we can do it while preserving our own ability to secure the safety of our troops as they protect freedom around the world. These steps will make a major dent. We are working hard and we intend to keep going until the job is done.

Bell. ... I will, because it is totally comprehensive. But why don't I just run through a few points and then start with you as the first question if I haven't explained it to your satisfaction by the time I finish. And I'll promise to be short.

Throughout the three-week negotiation in Oslo, the United States demonstrated considerable flexibility and a good-faith effort to find common ground with the other conference participants. We came to the negotiations seeking five improvements in the treaty to address fundamental underlying U.S. security concerns, five improvements that had they been accepted, would have allowed us to sign the treaty.

In each case, in each of these five instances, we responded with flexibility. And in each case, we considered many alternative formulations, particularly in the last two or three days of the negotiations. We never said, "This wording is it, take it or leave it." It was a very dynamic negotiation through and past the 11th hour.

Let me just run through each of those five then. First was verification. We said that we needed to get improvements in the text to have a better verification regime in this treaty. After all, it's a treaty that will require a two-thirds vote of approval from a very conservative United States Senate on arms control matters. And in fact, we succeeded. The treaty that was negotiated in Oslo does have an improved verification regime, including much more detailed information on data exchanges and fact-finding teams that could go verify compliance. So that was a success story.

Second, we sought in our original proposal a specific exemption to deal with Korea, an exemption for which there would have been no time limit in the treaty, per se. And in the counteroffer that we made, the package closeout proposal over the last weekend, we made a major change in that position. We said that we could accept a nine-year deadline for solving the problem in Korea.

Third is the issue of the right of withdrawal from the treaty, and I think there's been a lot of confusion on that point. The Ottawa treaty will have a withdrawal clause. That had been agreed, and we supported it. A state can serve six months notice under this treaty and withdraw for any reason -- that's there. But there was another provision which we found exceedingly odd. It was a paragraph that said, however, you may not withdraw if you're involved in a conflict. Now, it seemed to us that that's precisely when you might need it most.

And furthermore, our review of recent arms control history -- whether it's the Chemical Weapons Treaty, the CTB [chemical test ban], the NPT [Nonproliferation Treaty], the START [strategic arms reduction talks] treaties, whatever -- 20 of the last 20 arms control treaties that we've been part of have withdrawal clauses that are not restricted in time of war.

So we sought to delete that restriction on a state's right to withdraw, and the conference would not move. So over the weekend, we proposed a compromise, which was to say, all right, let that stand, but if you're in a conflict and you're the victim of aggression as defined under the United Nations' charter, the restriction wouldn't apply and you could withdraw. That seemed to us to be fundamentally consistent with a state's inherent right to self-defense under international law.

That met resistance. I don't know if we could have solved that if everything else had been resolved, but, personally, I think we might have.

The fourth issue was transition period. And it's important to remember why we felt we needed a transition period. Point 1 is you can't turn a supertanker on a dime. We have been going in a certain direction with our defense posture for a long time -- with great success, I might add, as demonstrated in the Gulf War. And we rely on land mines, at least have up to now. And so to do something different, we needed to field alternatives to get a comparable military capability. And our best estimate was that that meant about nine years.

But it's also important to realize why we needed to get a comparable capability, and that is because while the Ottawa treaty is a great accomplishment, it's only a partial solution. There are many, many very important states in relation to this world land mines catastrophe that are not part of this treaty, or at least don't appear to be willing to join it -- Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, Israel, just to name a few. So we faced the reality that we would have to prepare to operate with our military forces in a world in which we would not have land mines and many important states would. We felt we needed a transition period to get ready for that. And we went to the conference and proposed nine years from when the treaty enters into force. Now, to enter into force this treaty has to get 40 ratifications and then six months pass. So I would guess somewhere around the year 2000 it [would go] into force.

At the conference we received a counterproposal for a nine-year transition period that would start upon signature this December. And we made the hard decision to say yes to that, even though it meant we had two years less than we thought we needed originally to get ready for this kind of world.

Unfortunately, that counteroffer, even though we accepted it, failed to win majority support at the conference. The people that presented it to us hoped they could win support. We accepted it. They came back and reported, I think with great disappointment, that they could not deliver. Some states thought it was too long; other states thought it was too unqualified; some states wanted to restrict it just to Korea; some states wanted to restrict it in various kinds of conflict. So we didn't have agreement on that.

And then, fifth, the fifth issue is the one that the president elaborated on at some length in his remarks, and that was our simple insistence that a treaty designed to ban anti-personnel land mines not end up banning our principal anti-tank mines.

It's important to realize that when the states got to Oslo they were not starting with a blank slate. They had been working on this treaty for almost a year, certainly the last six months, in earnest. And our European allies had already gotten into the treaty text an exemption -- there has been a lot of talk about U.S. exemptions -- there was an exemption in the treaty when we got to Oslo, an exemption for explosive devices that are designed to kill or injure people who try to disturb or remove an anti-tank mine.

Those of you who are military warfighting experts here know that an anti-tank mine by itself is extremely vulnerable because someone can run up, pick it up and run away with it. It takes thousands of pounds of pressure to detonate it or a large magnetic force.

So all countries in the world have devices that are designed to kill or injure soldiers who are trying to remove or blow up the mine. And the way our European allies do it is to attach booby traps next to, in or under their anti-tank mines. Then if the person disturbs it, they die -- they die in a very big way because the anti-tank mine goes off. And that gives them pause. But since you can get right on top of it, you could use a long pole, disturb it, blow it up -- now you have a hole that a tank can come through and you've defeated the purpose of the minefield barrier.

Our anti-tank mines are different. There's a reason that they're different -- that's because we are better at it. There's a reason that we have the pre-eminent force in the world with the best technology.

We figured out through our own military history that you don't want the infantryman to get right on top of the mine, so we put these same little kinds of explosive devices that are designed to kill or injure someone who's going to get the mine -- the anti-tank mine -- near the anti-tank mine with some trip wires so they can't get close enough to disturb it. And if they try to get close, they get blown up.

Now, the treaty exemption that we found on the table when we got to Oslo did not extend quite that far to capture the engineering design of our systems. And we proposed two words, two simple words added to that exemption.

The words were "or near," so that a device placed near the anti-tank mine to protect it was exempted in the same way that the devices for our allies are being exempted, would fix that problem. And unfortunately, as the president said, the conference wouldn't agree. And he could not, as he emphasized, allow our principal anti-tank munitions to be stripped from our inventory.

So at the end of the day, it came down to two sticking points. We asked for a reasonable period of time to transition to a world in which we had no anti-personnel land mines and banned all of them, and we could not get support for that. And we asked simply to have the same treatment for our anti-tank mines that our friends and allies had already protected in the treaty with respect to their systems.

Let me stop there then and see if I answered your question.

Q. No, you haven't, because my question is perspective now. Under the president's directive of today, where he, regardless of what happened in Oslo, is directing an end to U.S. use of land mines unilaterally by 2003 and then by 2006 in Korea -- my question is whether his ban, his unilateral ban, applies to those land mines that are positioned around anti-tank mines. Would he also get rid of them by 2006?

A. His directive requires us, in the case of all the world except Korea, to end the use of anti-personnel land mines by 2003 and in Korea be ready with the alternatives by 2006. Now, what we are saying, what's fundamental to our argument in Oslo and fundamental to the answer to your question, is that these explosive devices that protect our anti-tank mines are not anti-personnel land mines. They are not being banned under the president's directive because they are not anti-personnel land mines.

These things are explosive devices, just like explosive devices that protect our allies' anti-tank mines. They are built into this munition. It's sealed at the factory. It's an integral unit.

Take, for example, the one that's delivered by an F-16. It's called gator. The F-16 flies over, drops a canister. In the canister, which is sealed at the factory, you have 72 anti-tank mines. And in that same canister you have 22 of these explosive devices that are designed to keep infantry off the anti-tank mine. When the devices hit the ground there's a tight pattern, about 100-yard field of anti-tank mines with these 22 anti-personnel munitions, submunitions, to protect the mines. And they put out trip wires.

But it's integral to this package. You cannot, if you are a field commander, open the package and take out these protective devices and go off and create a killing field somewhere for an anti-personnel minefield. They're only usable in this munition, and the munition is only used in a war. There's no placement of these things in the ground or on the ground in peacetime. And beyond that, the whole unit, the anti-tank mines and the protective devices against infantry self-destruct within two days. So there is nothing left, ever, even if there is a war, to threaten children or farmers or innocent civilians anywhere in the world.

So we don't consider those explosive devices in those canisters to be anti-personnel land mines for purposes of this treaty or for purposes of the president's directive today.

Q. Well, couldn't you switch to the European system of defending our anti-tank ... ?

A. Yes, absolutely. Of course, you could do it. It's just a question of time and money. Why would you not want to do it? It's not as good. In warfare, with mines time is everything. What you're trying to do is simply buy a few minutes. This is not something you use at the DMZ from now until North Korea changes.

Imagine the Gulf War. Imagine [retired Army] Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey's 24th Mechanized [Infantry] Division with a left hook. He's out there with no protection on his flanks, maneuvering. And you see an enemy force coming in on his flank.

You pick up the phone, call in an air strike. The aircraft comes over and drops this canister in front of the Republican Guard unit that's threatening his flank and puts down this field of anti-tank mines with their protective munitions as part of it. That's the concept of employment here.

Q. Well, until you redefine these formerly called anti-personnel mines as something else, those are the only mines that the military uses now that are smart, anti-personnel mines.

A. No, I'm sorry.

Q. I mean, they say that they use very little of any APLs [anti-personnel land mines] in any other way. So what does this ... ?

A. It's not true, unfortunately. We have munitions that are so-called pure, anti-personnel land mine munitions that are filled with smart anti-personnel land mines and no anti-tank mines.

Q. But how much is that actually used anymore?

A. Well, the reason that we have more of the combined munitions, the mixed munitions with a ratio of about four anti-tank mines in it for every device that protects against infantry, is because the nature of warfare has changed.

Q. But my question is, how much?

A. Let me just finish. The kinds of wars that we would fight now -- any imaginable war we would fight, except a guerrilla war -- would be against a highly mechanized or armored adversary. The North Koreans, Saddam Hussein -- you name them -- they're going to be coming at us with tanks and armored fighting vehicles. That's the nature of warfare. That's why the lion's share of our inventory is this munition that is mostly anti-tank, with protective devices built into it.

Q. If the lion's share is that sort, what sort is -- how much of the inventory left over is not the sort used in the anti-tank mines?

A. I think we have several different munitions that are designed to put down a pure anti-personnel land mine minefield using the smart, self-destructing, self-deactivating systems. We have a substantial inventory of them, but they are going to be eliminated under the president's order today by 2003.

If we had signed the Oslo treaty, they would be eliminated under the Oslo treaty. The point I'm making is -- and I think there's been some confusion in reporting on this -- the U.S. did not propose in Oslo to exempt from the treaty smart anti-personnel land mines. We agreed that we would destroy all of our smart anti-personnel land mines. Our argument was that these explosive devices in our anti-tank mines were not anti-personnel land mines. They were anti-handling, anti-tampering devices. And the Oslo treaty text had a paragraph in it whose purpose was to exempt from the treaty those kinds of devices. That bed was burning before we got in it.

Q. What is the failure of the smaller anti-personnel mines that surround the anti-tank mines so that -- you say they will self-destruct within two days. But sometimes then they don't self-destruct.

A. Well, the president talked about that two hours ago. They did a test where I think they used 3,200 of these things, and 3,199 of them self-destructed on time. There was one out of 3,200 that was an hour late going off.

Now, what if it hadn't gone off? They all have a back-up feature where they turn themselves off after an additional period of time if they don't self-destruct. And the way they do that is they have a battery in it that has a certain lifetime, two weeks, and no one in the history of mankind has ever built a battery that didn't run out at some point.

So if you take the combination of the technical reliability of the self-destruction, which is in excess of 99 percent, and you add to it the technical reliability of the self-deactivating feature, it is [99.999999] that you could ever have one of these things that after a couple of weeks would represent a threat to anybody.

Q. When you say they self-destruct, do they actually explode, or do they just ... ?

A. Yes.

Q. They actually do explode?

A. They are designed to explode. If they fail to explode, they're designed to turn themselves off. That is the feature that is built into the smart anti-personnel land mines that we would give up under the Oslo treaty -- will give up under the president's directive. It's the same feature that's built into the protective explosive devices that are in our anti-tank munitions.

Q. Bob, let me ask you a hindsight question. You seem to be a little bit envious of the Europeans that -- their anti-tank mines. And then you arrive last month in Oslo, and you tried to do the same for the U.S., and you don't succeed. Doesn't that speak to a failure of American diplomacy? Had you gotten into Oslo at an earlier stage, might you then not have been in a better position to horse trade with the Europeans and say, if you want the exemption on your anti-tank mines, you're going to have to give on ours? Wasn't the late entry a handicap then?

A. Well, there are two issues there. First, we're not envious -- ours are different because they're better.

Q. Envious of their exemption?

A. Well, let me just make this point. Our combat engineers think they can penetrate those enemy defenses in two minutes or less. We don't think our anti-tank minefields can be penetrated in under 20 minutes, even with the best sappers trying to get through.

In warfare, if you're Barry McCaffrey out there maneuvering in the desert with the 24th Mech against the Republican Guard, 18 minutes is the difference between life and death. We are not envious of the Europeans' systems. We are better.

Now, what if we'd gotten in sooner? You have to ask, why weren't we in sooner, what were we doing during this period while Oslo was picking up speed?

We were in Geneva, trying to do something different and we thought, better. It was certainly well-intentioned. We said, if you're going to have a comprehensive response to this global catastrophe being caused by land mines, you've got to have a global solution. So we went in the front door.

We said, let's get at a negotiating table with Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea -- sit down and negotiate a treaty where we all solve this problem.

That's why we went to the Conference on Disarmament -- because all of those states are at the negotiating table in that forum. And they had done it in the case of CTB; they had done it in the case of the Chemical Weapons Convention; they had done it in the case of the Biological Weapons Convention in the CD [Conference on Disarmament].

And when we got to land mines, they couldn't get out of the starting block. And it's a great disappointment that the CD was inadequate to this task, particularly since they don't have anything else to do there now that we've got all these other treaties done. So after six months of trying hard, we said, this is not going anywhere. And as the president promised in January, if six months after trying it doesn't work out, we will go to Plan B.

Now, why didn't we join Oslo in January? Because we didn't think that the Ottawa process was going to be a global solution. Remember, at that point there were only 40 states. So what happened?

Well, one thing that happened was that Princess Diana focused the attention of the world on this problem in a way that no one else had done, even despite the best efforts of champions like Sen. Leahy -- and the Ottawa process took off. And we recognized that; that was good.

It was good that Ottawa got more and more -- and we recognized that. That was good. It was good that Ottawa got more and more and more members so that when we got to Oslo, we had over 100 states. And with these two fixes, it would have all worked.

But there is still another step here. And that's even with Oslo being 100 states, it is missing Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea. It's missing half of the world's population, half of the world's land area, half of the world's land mine producers. So you can't stop here.

That is why we're going to back to Geneva now. In addition to leaving our offer on the table for Ottawa, we're going to go back to Geneva, not try to take it all in one bite now, we're going to take it in steps.

So our first goal, which the president emphasized today, is to get all of those states -- Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea -- to agree to a global treaty banning land mines exports. Then at least you're stopping the supply. The Ottawa treaty will eliminate a lot of the demand.

And if you add a third element, which is this protocol pending in the Senate, that Russia, China, India, everyone else has signed, that requires them to switch within nine years to the smart land mines -- between the three, I think Princess Diana would be quite proud.

Q. Can you put a dollar figure on the 25 percent increase in demining?

A. It's about $15 million to $20 million.

Q. More than you had ...

A. To go into these additional countries that the president was announcing today, yes.

Q. On the Princess Diana issue, how much pressure did the U.S. negotiators and the president feel over these past couple of weeks since her death to make these last-minute concessions in order to try to reach an agreement that would have allowed the U.S. to endorse the Oslo treaty?

A. I think what Princess Diana did, in life and in death, was to increase the demand for a solution. And one effect of that, as I said, was that more countries came to Oslo. And that is good, to her credit.

I know the president feels that in time he hopes that another consequence of Princess Diana's work is that countries that did not come to Oslo, their own people will be asking their governments, why didn't you go? So it may increase pressure over time for states that are on the sidelines to get involved. Maybe we'll see a benefit from that when we get to Geneva when they reconvene there.

But this was not an issue of us being pressured into concessions. As I said at the top ... we had five fundamental underlying concerns. We never said that our proposed language was the only way to solve it, but we were very clear: At the end of the day we need to find solutions to these five concerns. We came close. I would say three out of five. And on the two where it didn't work out, there is no logical reason why it couldn't have. And that's where we ended up.

Q. Are we going to go to Ottawa? And your use of language in the beginning was that these improvements, which obviously the other 100 delegates didn't think was the case. And also, we have signed treaties in the past, nuclear nonproliferation, where China wasn't a part of that and a lot of -- Israel, India and so forth. So that isn't really a taboo to us signing.

A. Several points there. In the case of the Chemical Weapons Convention, we had a debate in the Senate over this exact point, where senators sought to hold our participation hostage to a universal solution.

But there is a crucial difference here, and that's that in the Chemical Weapons Convention, because the people negotiating the treaty didn't trust that over time states out of good intention would join, they built into the Chemical Weapons Treaty sanctions, economic restrictions on countries that stayed out -- tried to stay out of the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention]. The reason the United States Senate, among others, ratified the CWC on April 28 was that they knew if they hadn't, U.S. chemical industries would have come under trade sanctions.

Now, the land mines treaty that was negotiated in Oslo has no such mechanism. You can trust that over time these states will come to it, but it's not for sure.

Q. What if the military fails to come up with a viable alternative to land mines by 2006 for Korea? Is there some -- in whatever language he uses to propose this or to order this, is there some extension that they could then take?

A. There is no extension in the president's directive. He has directed the military to get it done on this timetable. And our military is superb. When they are directed, they salute, take charge and move out. And I'm sure, between the emphasis we'll put on this, the emphasis Secretary Cohen will put on this, the help that Gen. David Jones will bring to it, that we're going to get the job done.

 

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