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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 17, July - August 1997

US Decision to Join Ottawa Process on Landmines

US Statement

'United States to join Ottawa Process,' Statement by White House Press Secretary, 18 August 1997

Full text

"The United States will participate in the Ottawa process negotiations on a treaty banning anti-personnel landmines. At the talks, which begin on 1 September in Oslo, the United States will work with the other participating nations to secure an agreement that achieves our humanitarian goals while protecting our national security interests. We look forward to a successful conclusion of these negotiations so that we can join with the other nations involved to sign a treaty in Ottawa in December.

At the same time, the United States will continue other efforts to address the problem of landmines, including our work to establish step-by-step negotiations toward a global ban in the Conference on Disarmament.

Cooperation in the Conference on Disarmament on new steps in this area remains essential since that body's membership includes most of the major producers and exporters of anti-personnel landmines. In addition, we continue to seek early Senate action on the pending Protocol on landmines. This Protocol will significantly strengthen the restrictions on landmine use and, if adhered to, will save many lives as we work toward an universal ban.

The United States is committed to pursuing the most promising opportunities for ending the use of anti-personnel landmines, which every year cause enormous suffering around the world."

Reaction by UN Secretary-General

'Secretary-General welcomes United States decision to join negotiations on treaty against anti-personnel landmines,' Statement by Spokesperson for Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN Press Release SG/SM/6304, 19 August 1997

Full text

"The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement that the United States will participate in the Ottawa process negotiations on a treaty banning anti-personnel landmines. He is convinced that such a treaty is urgently needed to put an end to the enormous suffering caused every day by this indiscriminate weapon.

The action by the United States comes at a critical moment, as arrangements are being made to open formal negotiations in Oslo on 1 September. The Secretary-General hopes that the Oslo Conference will succeed in concluding a truly comprehensive ban, which will come to the General Assembly for endorsement at its coming session. He looks forward to opening the treaty for signature in Ottawa in December.

The Secretary-General also hopes that there will be progress in the parallel efforts being made in the Conference on Disarmament to achieve universality of a total ban on these horrific weapons."

UK Reaction

'Landmines: US joins Ottawa Process,' Statement by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Daily Bulletin, 19 August 1997

Full text

"I warmly welcome President Clinton's announcement that the United States Government is joining the Ottawa Process and will be present at the forthcoming negotiations in Oslo. Their participation adds weight to the Ottawa Process and will give impetus to efforts to agree an effective international ban which the British Government and others are actively seeking."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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