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U.S. Announces Changes to Landmine Policy

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2014 – The United States will not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines in the future, American officials announced in Maputo, Mozambique, today.

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Close-up of a bounding anti-personnel mine exposed by the shifting sands of an unspecified desert. United Nations courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The declaration -- delivered at the end of the Third Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention -- reinforces America’s commitment to the aims of the treaty.

The convention prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. American officials in Maputo said the United States would like to accede to the Ottawa Convention. The United States is researching how to “mitigate” the risks associated with the loss of anti-personnel landmines.

“Other aspects of our land mine policy remain under consideration and we will share outcomes from that process as we are in a position to do so,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlan Hayden said in a written statement released today by the White House.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “believes this decision on anti-personnel landmines, given our current stockpiles, protects current capabilities while we work towards a reliable and effective substitute. As he has said, landmines, used responsibly, are a valuable tool in the arsenal of the United States that can save U.S. and allied lives," according to a statement issued by the chairman’s spokesman, Air Force Col. Edward W. Thomas Jr.

The United States has worked with countries around the world to eliminate the threat posed by landmines. Landmines left over from World War II have injured or killed people in North Africa. Mines in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos still hurt citizens of those countries. Recent heavy flooding in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Balkans has uncovered dangerous landmines left over from the 1992-95 war that was fought there. Afghanistan was once one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

The United States has provided more than $2.3 billion in aid since 1993 in more than 90 countries for conventional weapons destruction programs.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneAFPS)


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Related Sites:
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on U.S. Anti-Personnel Landmine Policy
Fact Sheet: Changes to U.S. Anti-Personnel Landmine Policy

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