Login/Logout

*
*  
"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Landmine Ban Deadline Extended
Share this

Jeff Abramson

At the ninth meeting of states-parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Convention, also referred to as the Ottawa Convention, in November 2008, 15 countries requested and received extensions to their 2009 demining deadlines. The United Kingdom received a 10-year extension, the maximum possible, and agreed to "proceed immediately with the clearance of three mined areas" and to provide a detailed update and demining plan by June 30, 2010. Prior to the extension, the country had been criticized for failing to take action to clear mine-impacted areas of the Falkland Islands, which are also claimed by Argentina. Clearance deadline extensions of varying lengths were also granted to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Jordan, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Senegal, Thailand, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

At the meeting, Belarus, Greece, and Turkey addressed their failure to meet March 2008 stockpile destruction deadlines. Belarus restated its need for financial assistance to destroy more than 3.3 million Soviet-era design PFM-type mines, which are particularly difficult to handle safely due to the toxicity of their liquid explosive. Greece, which claimed almost 1.6 million landmines as of April 30, 2008, reiterated plans to transfer its stockpile to Bulgaria for destruction by mid-2009. Turkey claimed it had destroyed 800,000 landmines in the previous year and stated that it aimed to complete destruction of its approximately 1.8 million landmines by early 2010.

Under the treaty, which entered into force in 1999, members have 10 years to clear areas of anti-personnel mines and four years to destroy their stockpiles, with the exception of the minimum number necessary for the development of and training in mine detection, clearance, and destruction techniques. Additional countries that joined the treaty in 2000 will face 2010 clearance deadlines. Some of these states are likely to seek extensions at the treaty's second review conference to be held Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2009, in Cartagena, Colombia.