Washington, DC — Statement by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
First Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention in Nairobi
The First Review Conference for the Ottawa Convention will take place in Nairobi from November 29 to December 3. While the U.S. is not a party to the Convention and is not attending the conference, we share common cause with all those who seek to protect innocent civilians from indiscriminately used landmines.
We are proud of the U.S. role in reducing the threat to innocent civilians of landmines left in the ground after conflicts end. Since 1993 the U.S. has provided close to $1 billion dollars for these efforts. As the conferees in Nairobi mark this progress, there is important work that remains to be done. Eliminating civilian landmine casualties requires a comprehensive approach addressing landmines of every type that remain hazardous after a conflict has ended, including the larger anti-vehicle landmines that are not covered by the Ottawa Convention.
The United States' landmine policy increases funding for humanitarian mine action substantially. It includes an unconditional commitment that U.S. military forces (despite worldwide treaty commitments and major ongoing operations) will cease the use of all persistent landmines, anti-vehicle as well as anti-personnel, by the end of 2010. The United States will also eliminate from its inventory all non-detectable mines, which pose an extraordinary risk to civilians and deminers.
The U.S. applauds the initiative and commitment of those gathering in Nairobi, and we reiterate our commitment to work with the international community to accelerate progress toward an end to the humanitarian harm caused by persistent landmines. We encourage states participating in the Review Conference to:
* Increase funding for humanitarian mine action, and harmonize their efforts with other key mine action programs worldwide.
* Examine their own policies on the continued use of persistent anti-vehicle landmines, which pose substantial dangers to innocent life yet are not covered under the Ottawa Convention.
* Agree to negotiate, at the Conference on Disarmament, a ban on the sale or export of all persistent mines, including anti-vehicle mines.
* Eliminate all non-detectable landmines, which pose a particular hazard to deminers.