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Mine Policy Review Near End, U.S. Says
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Daryl G. Kimball

The Obama administration is nearing the end of its ongoing, three-year-long review of its landmine policy and expects to announce the results in 2013, a U.S. official said Dec. 6.

In a prepared statement in Geneva delivered during the annual meeting of states-parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, Steven Costner, deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, said the United States “expect[s] to be able to announce a decision soon.” At a briefing later on Dec. 6, he specified that the decision would be announced before the parties’ 2013 meeting, scheduled to take place at the end of the year.

Part of the decision is whether Washington will join the convention, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of landmines. The United States, which has stockpiled approximately 10 million anti-personnel landmines, is one of a group of 36 countries, as well as the only NATO member, that has not yet joined the treaty. Since it entered into force in 1997, the treaty has mandated the destruction of tens of millions of anti-personnel mines and advanced programs to rehabilitate mine victims and survivors.

When he was a U.S. senator from Illinois, President Barack Obama was supportive of restricting procurement of victim-activated landmines. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama told Arms Control Today that he would “regain [U.S.] leadership” by “honoring U.S. commitments to seek alternatives to landmines.”