Issue No. 18, September 1997
Stage Three Of The Ottawa Process: The Oslo Diplomatic
SUMMARY OF THE CONFERENCE
By Jo-Anne Velin
The mood in Oslo, September 1-19, during the negotiations on a
text to ban anti-personnel (AP) landmines, can be described as
something like a big family reunion. Relationships between the
different non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working under the
umbrella International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL),
representatives of some UN agencies and departments, and the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and several
pro-ban delegations, infused the meetings with a cameraderie that
has grown in the two years during which many countries have changed
their policies on AP mines. Oslo felt nothing like Vienna two years
ago, when the first formal negotiations to amend the Convention on
Certain Conventional Weapons' (CCW) Protocol II focused mainly on
mine use and technical specifications.
The mix was different in Vienna. Oslo was as notable for the
countries that did not join in, as for those that did. China,
Russia, and India did not participate at Oslo (except as Observers
in some cases. See Appendix B); they were key figures in
On the other hand, family feelings aside, serious disagreements
did occur in Oslo, first over demands made chiefly by the US, and
second over verification measures (this boiled down to a conflict
between German and Mexican positions on how to monitor
US demands appeared to evolve over the course of the Oslo
negotiations. Close observers, however, said the position hadn't
really changed in a year and a half; they were proven right when
the US reached its bottom line and withdrew, rather than force a
vote it knew it was going to lose. The US bottom line can be summed
up as preserving a certain anti-tank pack that includes AP mines,
preserving the right to use AP mines in Korea, and including the
right to withdraw from the treaty if attacked - or a combination of
the above that produces the same effect during a long deferral
Other countries, like Australia, Germany and Spain, were willing
to support some of these demands, but the majority - in particular
countries severely affected by landmines - wanted an unambiguous,
early ban, with no exceptions. At the very least, the Ottawa
Process was to set a new international humanitarian standard, an
objective enthusiastically supported by the ICRC lawyers, and the
And in the corridors, delegates said that China and Russia, in
particular, won't sign any unambiguous ban in the foreseeable
future; weakening the text considerably to accommodate the US still
wouldn't be enough to lure the others, and was therefore pointless;
other fora can bring them all to the same table.
Indeed, the facts suggest a ban may inch forward when the States
Parties to CCW Protocol II have their first post-review meeting -
expected to be in late 1999, one year after the anticipated amended
Protocol II entry into force date. Russia China, Pakistan, India,
and many others that deploy or manufacture anti-personnel mines,
will be compelled to focus on landmines then, along with other
States Parties to Protocol II who have bound themselves to Ottawa
(States Parties to CCW Protocol II who attended Oslo, are
identified in Appendix B).
Over and above fights on the American demands, according to many
participants in Oslo, negotiations were toughest on paragraphs
concerning the definition of anti-personnel landmines, references
to the Conference on Disarmament, and the section on clarification
of compliance - a warm and fuzzy version of traditional
verification that was discussed in some detail in Disarmament
Diplomacy No.6 (May 1996). While some supporters hailed the
text for setting an new international humanitarian standard, one
senior source says some of the details - on definition and
verification - cut the line to Russia, China and India. He added,
"It tells others to go away, (and sets a) bad precedent because
it's a loose system."
According to legal experts, now that the text has been adopted
by the participants, no revisions can be made to it until after it
has entered into force, and then only according to the rules
contained in the text itself.
Clattering Pots and Pans
A last-days' fuss surrounded the US decision to pull out of the
Oslo negotiations, almost exactly a month after the somewhat
surprising announcement made on 18 August that the US would indeed
be a full participant in Norway this September. The fuss was
distracting but resulted in no substantive changes to the final
draft before it was adopted.
US participation gave Oslo an unexpected jar. The Oslo
diplomatic conference was a critical two and a half week
negotiation in the series of meetings and events that has come to
be known as the Ottawa Process - begun last October when Canadian
Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy challenged States to come up with a
clear ban by December of this year. Negotiators suggest that
dealing with flip-flop US attempts to become part of a treaty that
close observers believe it simply isn't ready to sign, was a little
like trying to pretend one doesn't notice a friend's trousers are
on inside out. And a late-night telephone call between Canadian
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien directly to US President Bill
Clinton, to consider dropping all US demands but one - a long
deferral period - was roundly denounced by the ICBL, and the most
strident pro-ban States.
The fuss over the US absorbed the international press. Speaking
with characteristic frankness, the South African chairman of the
Oslo conference, and current ambassador to the Conference on
Disarmament in Geneva, Jacob S. Selebi, told reporters that "CNN is
always putting the world as if it has one capital. The world is
bigger than that." Alluding to large stockpiles and the problem of
continuing mine deployment in countries that support Ottawa and
that face a landmine problem now, he added, "People of the press
must look at the importance of this convention to that 100
The African States participating fully in the negotiations -
about one third of the number of countries participating - dug in
their heels to ensure the treaty text would set an unambiguous,
immediate ban on anti-personnel mines. The African group contains
some of the world's most badly affected countries, including
Mozambique and Angola. African cohesion mattered in particular as
together the States formed a sufficiently large block to ensure
concessions to the United States could not win two-thirds majority
Decisions by Majority, Not Consensus
Although the rules of procedure allowed for voting, and for
decisions to be adopted by two-thirds majority, the Chairman
confirmed that at no time was voting used. Instead, the Chair, and
Friends of the Chair, could decide, "this is where the majority of
the views are, not this is where the consensus lies," said one
participant. Not being forced to reach consensus is a break from
traditional disarmament negotiating norms and a link with
international humanitarian law-making traditions, said a
The two-day signing ceremony will begin in Ottawa, on 3
December. States expect the next big push to expand the number of
signatories will take place during the UN General Assembly this
fall, in particular in the First Committee in late November. A
draft UNGA Resolution on landmines is circulating now. One senior
diplomat expects the US will sponsor this year's resolution, as it
did last year. Another said the UNGA move could well turn into a
"bloodbath." No one is sure.
Mines in the CD
Putting landmines on the CD agenda this winter could once again
bog down. Pressure from the US and others to deal with landmines in
the CD is not expected to produce more than a ban on transfers, if
indeed negotiations get that far. In an interview in Oslo,
Ambassador Selebi said, "If the CD does anything that is not
consistent with (a total ban) we will not support that." Closing
statements for France, Belgium, Finland and Russia specifically
supported taking up mines in the CD.
APPENDIX A: THE CONVENTION - EXTRACTS AND NOTES
This review of the treaty text will flag only some of the
highlights, and their background. Most of my comments on specific
legal points reflect the differing views of the opinion leaders and
challengers. No legal expertise is claimed by the author.
While the countries that banded together through the Ottawa
Process glowed from the high spirits that come from fighting the
good fight, the paper trail suggests that getting a ban most of
these countries could support was no cakewalk.
At least 57 amendments were tabled in Oslo.
In the run-up to Oslo, Austria circulated three complete,
frequently controversial drafts in approximately six months, well
before the parties met for the formal negotiations; Germany added a
long discussion paper last spring on verification alternatives,
that tried to stimulate some lateral thinking, when the tough job
of reconciling the pro- and anti-verification camps in the pro-ban
group began in earnest; meanwhile, in Geneva this spring and
summer, much blocking and counter-blocking resulted in no agreement
to take up mines in the CD - the result desired in Ottawa,
according to sources close to Canada, at least until the Ottawa ban
text was delivered, but this was hard to deduce from Canada's
subtly-worded CD interventions which supported taking up mines in
the CD without sticking a firm date on when this should be.
"The States Parties,
Determined to put an end to the suffering and casualties
caused by anti-personnel mines...,
Believing it necessary to do their utmost to contribute
in an efficient and coordinated manner to face the challenge of
removing anti-personnel mines...and to assure their
Wishing to do their utmost in providing assistance
Recognising that a total ban...would also be an important
Welcoming the adoption of the Protocol [on
landmines]...as amended on 3 May 1996, annexed to the [Convention
on Certain Conventional Weapons]...and calling for the early
ratification of this Protocol by all States which have not yet done
Welcoming also United Nations General Assembly Resolution
51/45 S of 10 December 1996 urging all States to pursue vigorously
an...international agreement to ban...anti-personnel mines,
Welcoming furthermore the measures taken over the past
years, both unilaterally and multilaterally, aimed at prohibiting,
restricting or suspending the use, stockpiling, production and
transfer of anti-personnel mines,
Stressing the role of public conscience in furthering the
principles of humanity as evidenced by the call for a total ban of
anti-personnel mines and recognising the efforts to that end
undertaken by...numerous...non-governmental organizations around
Recalling the Ottawa Declaration of 5 October 1996 and
the Brussels Declaration of 27 June 1997 urging the international
community to negotiate an international and legally binding
Emphasizing the desirability of attracting the adherence
of all States to this Convention, and determined to work
strenuously towards the promotion of its universalization in all
Basing themselves on the principle of international
humanitarian law that the right of the parties to an armed conflict
to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited, on the
principle that prohibits the employment in armed conflicts of
weapons, projectiles and materials and methods of warfare of a
nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering and on
the principle that a distinction must be made between civilians and
Have agreed as follows;"
Three elements stand out.
1) Helping Mine Victims:
Note the two lines that refer to "providing assistance for the
care and rehabilitation, including the social and economic
integration of mine victims." States are not "determined" or
"emphasizing" they should help mine victims - they are "wishing to
do their utmost" to provide this assistance.
This language is soft. It was introduced here instead of in a
stronger form in the list of General Obligations contained in
Article 1 - as had been recommended in the ICRC's comments on the
third Austrian draft - but does, however, set the tone for Article
6, and more precisely for paragraph 7 of Article 6, that refers
explicitly to mine victim assistance.
2) References to the CD:
Another battle in the preamble was fought over references to the
CD, and to CCW Protocol II; according to observers, this was the
last issue to be resolved. In particular,, France, Germany and the
US wanted the CD mentioned; many other countries didn't. The French
wanted to promote the Ottawa ban as complementary to efforts
in the CD; Mexico and Ireland felt the ban was complete as-is.
The fix was to drop any overt reference to complementarity, and
to include the CD in a longer list of fora in which a ban should be
promoted: "inter alia, the United Nations, the Conference on
Disarmament, regional organisations, and groupings, and review
conferences of the (CCW)."
3) Principle of indiscriminate weapons:
The US and the UK did not want the preamble to suggest that
anti-personnel landmines are being banned because they are, in
principle, unable to distinguish between civilians and
combatants - that AP mines are indiscriminate weapons, in other
words. This refers to their arguments put forward in the CCW
Protocol II talks that contributed to the complex technical annex
describing acceptable AP mines. But in Oslo they lost. The last
phrase of the preamble says that mines are being banned not just
because of their effects,or how they are used, but "on the
principle that a distinction must be made between civilians and
combatants." This clause stands on one of the pillars of
international humanitarian law, according to experts.
Article I: General Obligations
"1. Each State Party undertakes never under any
a) To use anti-personnel mines;
b) To develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or
transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, anti-personnel
c) To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage
in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this
2. Each State Party undertakes to destroy or ensure the
destruction of all anti-personnel mines in accordance with the
provisions of this Convention."
This Article sets an unambiguous target for States "never under
any circumstances" to use, produce, transfer, or stockpile
anti-personnel landmines, and for States to destroy stockpiles. The
term used is "anti-personnel mines" (no "land" in there) in keeping
with what mines are called in the CCW.
Article 2: Definitions
AP mines are clearly defined as mines designed to be detonated
by direct contact with, or by the proximity of, a person, not as
mines "primarily" designed to do this. ("Primarily" is found the
CCW amended Protocol II). On the other hand, anti-tank mines
equipped with anti-handling devices remain legal.
By proposing changes to "Anti-handling device", the US tried to
preserve its mixed-mines anti-tank pack that drops a mixture of
anti-tank mines and anti-personnel mines from the air. The trick
was to say that an AP mine could become an anti-handling device if
it's "near" an anti-tank mine. This didn't fly (what does "near"
mean?), and the effort to turn (illegal) APMs into (legal)
anti-handling devices in this case was like "painting the word
'dog' on the side of a cow," according to one negotiator.
One expert says that "transfer" in this text comes right out of
the definition given in the UN Register of Conventional Arms
The distinction between a mined area and a minefield is erased.
This matters particularly in marking and clearing areas likely to
be used by civilians. In short, mines need signs, and other safety
measures, even if they are not in a minefield - as defined inthe
CCW Protocol II, for example.
Article 3: Exceptions
"1. ...the retention or transfer of a number of anti-personnel
mines for the development of and training in mine detection, mine
clearance, or mine destruction techniques is permitted. ...
2. The transfer of anti-personnel mines for the purpose of
destruction is permitted."
The big exception is a stock of mines to be used exclusively for
training. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines objected
strenuously from their position as an Observer, that this article
didn't set tight numbers, but going around the table, several
countries said the "minimum number absolutely necessary" meant a
"couple" of thousand units, no more, per country. On observer
commented that Italy had said in another forum that this meant
200,000 units, but this was not the majority view.
Stockpiles should be destroyed "as soon as possible" but no
later than four years after entry into force of the Convention "for
that State Party." Four years is the compromise between three
(proposed earlier) and Chile's, Spain's and (Observer) Finland's
requests for much longer.
Article 4: Destruction of Stockpiled Anti-Personnel
"Except as provided for in Article 3, each State Party
undertakes to destroy or ensure the destruction of all stockpiled
anti-personnel mines it owns or possesses, or that are under its
jurisdiction or control, as soon as possible but not later than
four years after the entry into force of this Convention for that
Article 5: Destruction of Anti-Personnel Mines in Mined
"1. Each State Party undertakes to destroy or ensure the
destruction of all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its
jurisdiction and control, as soon as possible but not later than
ten years after the entry into force of this Convention for that
2. Each State Party shall make every effort to identify all
[mined] areas under its jurisdiction and control...and shall ensure
as soon as possible that all anti-personnel mines in mined
areas...are perimeter-marked, monitored and protected by fencing or
3. If a State Party believes that it will be unable to control
or ensure the destruction of all anti-personnel mines...within that
time period, it may submit a request to a Meeting of the States
Parties or a Review Conference for an extension of the
deadline...for a period of up to ten years.
4. each request shall contain:
a) The duration of the proposed extension;
b) A detailed explanation of the reasons for the proposed
c) The humanitarian, social, economic, and environmental
implications of the extension; and
d) Any other information relevant...
5. The Meeting of the States Parties or the Review Conference
shall...assess the request and decide by a majority of votes of
States Parties present and voting whether to grant the
6. Such an extension may be renewed upon the submission of a new
States have ten years after entry into force of the Convention
"for that State Party" to clean up. In fact, this seems
unattainable in severely mined countries. The Convention is not
arrogant on this point, however, and, like the Chemical Weapons
Convention, offers States a chance to barter for more time where
they can demonstrate that they are demining the territories they
control, to the extent their resources allow.
One hurdle, however, is that the detailed report that should be
filed has to include an assessment of the "humanitarian, social,
economic and environmental implications of the extension." It seems
like a mountain of research for a poor country. But it isn't meant
to be taken to extremes, according to participants. In Brussels
last May, one source said, the UK introduced this point because it
wanted to say that States should have to weigh demining programmes
in both human and economic terms - meaning that demining in the
Falklands is not as beneficial to people all around as plowing
demining resources into Angola. (The same source also said that
Argentina had remarked it could demine in the Falklands for
Article 6: International Cooperation and Assistance
"1. ...each State Party has the right to seek and receive
assistance, where feasible, from other States Parties to the extent
2. Each State Party undertakes to facilitate and shall have the
right to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment,
material and scientific and technological information... The States
Parties shall not impose undue restrictions on the provision of
mine clearance equipment and related technological
3. Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide
assistance for the care and rehabilitation...of mine victims and
for mine awareness programs. ...
4. Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide
assistance for mine clearance and related activities. ...
5. Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide
assistance for the destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel
6. Each State Party undertakes to provide information to the
database on mine clearance established within the United
7. States Parties may request the United Nations, regional
organizations, other States Parties or other competent
intergovernmental or non-governmental fora to assist its
authorities in the elaboration of a national demining
It's worth noting that some representatives of NGOs who had been
included on national delegations as full diplomats, negotiated on
behalf of their governments on this Article. Having an NGO leader
negotiate in a State delegation this way is extremely unusual in
anything that smacks of arms control and disarmament, but started
during the CCW Protocol II negotiations in 1995 (with the
Australians). At least four Participating States had one NGO
representative on their Oslo delegation. They were Australia,
Canada, Austria and the Netherlands. This wasn't spelled out in the
official list of delegates, and it's believed more countries did
Article 6 is revolutionary according to many of the negotiators.
The third paragraph in particular, breaks ground by obliging States
to help mine victims: "Each State Party in a position to do so
shall [my emphasis] provide assistance..."
In the same manner States "shall" help other States clear mines,
and destroy stockpiles. The implication is that States Parties will
also help other States Parties with mine surveys and building mine
databases. This help can be provided bilaterally or through other
organisations (UN, ICRC and regional bodies, for example).
Article 7: Transparency Measures
"1. Each State Party shall report to the Secretary-General of
the United Nations as soon as practicable, and in any event not
later than 180 days after the entry into force of this Convention
for that State Party on:
a) The national implementation measures referred to in Article
b) The total of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines owned or
possessed by it...to include a breakdown of the type, quantity and,
if possible, lot numbers of each type...
c) To the extent possible, the location of all mined areas...to
include as much detail as possible regarding the type and quantity
of each type of anti-personnel mine in each mined area and when
they were emplaced;
d) The types, quantities and, if possible, lot numbers of all
anti-personnel mines retained or transferred for the development of
and training in mine detection, mine clearance or mine destruction
techniques, or transferred for the purpose of destruction...
e) The status of programs for the conversion or de-commissioning
of anti-personnel mine production facilities;
f) The status of programs for the destruction of anti-personnel
g) The types and quantities of all anti-personnel mines
destroyed after the entry into force of this Convention for that
h) The technical characteristics of each type of anti-personnel
mine produced, to the extent known, and those currently owned or
possessed by a State Party...
i) The measures taken to provide an immediate and effective
warning to the population in relation to all [mined] areas...
2. The information provided in accordance with this Article
shall be updated by the States Parties annually, covering the last
calendar year, and reported to the Secretary-General not later than
30 April of each year..."
States reporting on themselves is the main feature here.
The first reports of many required according to the rules of
this Convention have to roll in no later than 180 days after the
agreement enters into force "for that State Party."
The first report has to include not only where the mines are, or
thought to be, but also much detail on what kinds of mines these
are - their technical specs as much as possible - and details on
the national programme to destroy stockpiles, educate the public
about the threat, and decommission mine-producing facilities.
Therafter, reports must be filed annually with the UN
Secretary-General. These reports are then distributed among all the
other States Parties. In practical terms, it was said last spring,
as surely "as day follows night", many countries will not be able
to fulfill the reporting requirement, or will let deadlines lapse,
and so, will be in breach early on.
But the tone of the negotiations and dialogue between States
negotiating in Oslo suggests that States will be generous with each
other, when clearly a country cannot meet the obligation despite
its will to do so. The reporting requirement sounds like it's been
detailed here mostly to keep the dialogue going, and to build up a
database against which progress can be measured.
In another context, international human rights experts have
stated that countries respond best to Convention-based reporting
requirements when the details these reports are expected to
contain, are spelled out clearly.
Article 8: Facilitation and Clarification of
"1. The States Parties agree to consult and cooperate with each
other regarding the implementation of the provisions of this
2. If one or more States Parties wish to clarify and seek to
resolve questions relating to compliance...by another State Party,
it may submit, through the Secretary-General...a Request for
Clarification...to that State Party. ... Each State Party shall
refrain from unfounded Requests... A State Party that receives a
Request...shall provide, through the Secretary-General...within 28
days to the requesting State Party all information which would
assist in clarifying this matter.
3. If the requesting State Party does not receive a
response...within that time period, or deems the
response...unsatisfactory, it may submit the matter through the
Secretary-General...to the next Meeting of the States Parties.
4. Pending the convening of any meeting of the States Parties,
any of the States Parties concerned may request the
Secretary-General of the United Nations to exercise his or her good
offices to facilitate the clarification requested.
5. The requesting State Party may propose...the convening of a
Special Meeting of the States Parties to consider the matter. The
Secretary-General shall thereupon communicate this proposal... In
the event that within 14 days from the date of such communication,
at least one-third of the States Parties favours such a Meeting,
the Secretary-General...shall convene a Special Meeting...within a
further 14 days. A quorum for this Meeting shall consist of a
majority of States Parties.
6. The Meeting of the States Parties or the Special
Meeting...shall first determine whether to consider the matter
further... The Meeting...or Special Meeting...shall make every
effort to reach a decision by consensus. If despite all efforts to
that end no agreement has been reached, it shall take this decision
by a majority of States Parties present and voting.
7. All States Parties shall cooperate fully with the
Meeting...or Special Meeting...
8. If further clarification is required, the Meeting...or
Special Meeting...shall authorize a fact-finding mission and decide
on its mandate by a majority of States Parties present and voting.
At any time the requested State Party may invite a fact-finding
mission to its territory. ...
11. Upon at least 72 hours notice, the members of the
fact-finding mission [appointed by the Secretary-General in
accordance with requirements and considerations specified in
paragraphs 9 and 10] shall arrive in the territory of the requested
State Party at the earliest opportunity. ...
14. The requested State Party shall grant access for the
fact-finding mission to all areas and installations under its
control where facts relevant to the compliance issue could be
expected to be collected...
15. The fact-finding mission may remain in the territory of the
State Party...for no more than 14 days, and at any particular site
no more than 7 days, unless otherwise agreed. ...
17. The fact-finding mission shall report...to the Meeting...or
18. The Meeting...or Special Meeting...shall consider all
relevant information, including the report submitted by the
fact-finding mission, and may request the requested State Party to
take measures to address the compliance issue within a specified
period of time. The requested State Party shall report on all
measures taken in response to this request.
19. The Meeting...or Special Meeting...may suggest to the States
Parties concerned ways and means to further clarify or resolve the
matter under consideration, including the initiation of appropriate
procedures in conformity with international law. In circumstances
where the issue at hand is determined to be due to circumstances
beyond the control of the Requested State Party, the Meeting...or
Special Meeting...may recommend appropriate measures, including the
use of cooperative measures...
20. The Meeting...or Special Meeting...shall make every effort
to reach its decisions referred to in paragraphs 18 and 19 by
consensus, otherwise by a two-thirds majority of States Parties
present and voting."
This is a soft form of traditional disarmament verification, and
in its details, one of the most interesting mixtures of
international humanitarian law and arms control mindsets and legal
traditions. Legal experts say that it's based partly on the
verification procedures listed in the CWC, but indeed it's far
looser and more cooperative in nature.
For a senior diplomat not present in Oslo, however, the de
facto verification offered here doesn't go far enough to assess
who is using mines, and goes too far on matters that can't be
tracked effectively - like production (because you don't need a big
infrastructure to make AP mines), transfers (mines easy to smuggle)
and stockpiles (they're easy to hide - unlike a large nuclear
missile, for example).
Little changes in language warmed the hybrid's colour. For
example, one negotiator noted:
* instead of referring to an "inspected" State, reference is
made to a "requested" State.
* instead of calling a team of experts a "team of experts" it's
called a "mission" (terminology found all over humanitarian
Basically every Participating State accepted the idea of
mandatory fact-finding, according to souces; and a "State can't
stonewall," said one observer.
Almost none of the delegations queried the thought that a
fact-finding team would ever be sent into a State. But the fact
that these provisions exist, suggests that the message to others
is, 'if you aren't serious, don't sign the treaty.'
The worst fights, apparently, were between countries that
supported the Mexican position - which was dead set against
verification initially, partly arguing from purist legal
principles, and partly arguing that it isn't practical - and those
countries that supported the German position. The Germans had
always said that they need something that looks a bit like real
verification, and that has sharper teeth than States filing reports
Article 9: National Implementation Measures
"Each State Party shall take all appropriate legal,
administrative and other measures, including the imposition of
penal sanctions, to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited to
a State Party under this Convention undertaken by persons or on
territory under its jurisdiction or control."
Article 10: Settlement of Disputes
"1. The States Parties shall consult and cooperate with each
other to settle any dispute... Each State Party may bring any such
dispute before the Meeting of the States Parties.
2. The Meeting...may contribute to settlement of the dispute by
whatever means it deems appropriate, including offering its good
offices calling upon States parties to a dispute to start the
settlement procedure of their choice and recommending a time-limit
for any agreed procedure. ..."
Article 11: Meetings of the States Parties
"1. The States Parties shall meet regularly in order to consider
any matter with regard to the application or implementation of this
2. The first Meeting...shall be convened by the
Secretary-General...within one year after the entry into force of
this Convention. The subsequent meetings shall be
convened...annually until the first Review Conference. ...
4. States not parties...as well as the United Nations [and]
other relevant organizations [including non-governmental
organizations]...may be invited to attend these meetings as
Article 12: Review Conferences
"1. A Review Conference shall be convened by the
Secretary-General...five years after the entry into force of this
Convention. Further Review Conferences shall be convened...if so
requested by one or more States Parties, provided that the interval
between Review Conferences shall in no case be less than five
3. States not parties...as well as the United Nations [and]
other relevant organizations [including non-governmental
organizations]...may be invited to attend these meetings as
Article 13: Amendments
"1. At any time after the entry into force of this Convention
any State Party may propose amendments... Any proposal...shall be
communicated to the Depositary, who shall circulate it to all
States Parties and shall seek their views on whether an Amendment
Conference shall be convened... If a majority of the States Parties
notify the Depositary no less than 30 days after its circulation
that they support further consideration of the proposal, the
Depositary shall convene an Amendment Conference...
2. States not parties...as well as the United Nations [and]
other relevant organizations [including non-governmental
organizations]...may be invited to attend these meetings as
3. The Amendment Conference shall be held immediately following
a Meeting of the States parties or a Review Conference unless a
majority of the States Parties request that it be held earlier.
4. Any amendment...shall be adopted by a majority of two-thirds
of the States Parties present and voting...
5. An amendment...shall enter into force for all States Parties
to this Convention which have accepted it, upon the deposit with
the Depositary of instruments of acceptance by a majority of States
Parties. Thereafter it shall enter into force for any remaining
State Party on the date of deposit of its instrument of
Article 14: Costs
"1. The costs of the Meetings...the Special Meetings...the
Review Conferences and the Amendment Conferences shall be borne by
the States Parties and States not parties to this Convention
participating therein, in accordance with the United Nations scale
of assessment adjusted appropriately."
Article 15: Signature
"This Convention...shall be open for signature at Ottawa,
Canada, by all States from 3 December 1997 until 4 December 1997,
and at the United Nations...in New York from 5 December 1997 until
its entry into force."
Article 16: Ratification, Acceptance, Approval or
"1. This Convention is subject to ratification, acceptance or
approval of the Signatories. ..."
Article 17: Entry into Force
"1. This Convention shall enter into force on the first day of
the sixth month after the month in which the 40th instrument of
ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been
2. For any State which deposits its instrument...after the date
of deposit of the 40th instrument...this Convention shall enter
into force on the first day of the sixth month after the date on
which that State has deposited its instrument..."
At least forty countries must ratify the Convention before it
can enter into force. Add six months after the last instrument of
ratification is filed with the depositary (UN) to get the real
starting date. In practice, however, once a country signs the
convention, it should not do anything against the spirit of the
Article 18: Provisional Application
"Any State may at the time of its ratification, acceptance,
approval or accession, declare that it will apply provisionally
paragraph 1 of Article 1 of this Convention pending its entry into
Article 19: Reservations
"The Articles of this Convention shall not be subject to
Article 20: Duration and Withdrawal
"1. This Convention shall be of unlimited duration.
2. Each State Party shall, in exercising its national
sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Convention. It
shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other States Parties,
to the Depositary and to the United Nations Security Council. Such
instrument of withdrawal shall include a full explanation of the
reasons motivating this withdrawal.
3. Such withdrawal shall only take effect six months after the
receipt of the instrument of withdrawal by the Depositary. If,
however, on the expiry of that six-month period, the withdrawing
State Party is engaged in an armed conflict, the withdrawal shall
not take effect before the end of the armed conflict.
4. The withdrawal of a State Party...shall not in any way affect
the duty of States to continue fulfilling the obligations assumed
under any relevant rules of international law."
Article 21: Depositary
"The Secretary-General of the United Nations is hereby
designated as the Depositary of this Convention."
Article 22: Authentic Texts"
APPENDIX B: GETTING THE NUMBERS RIGHT
A SUMMARY OF STATES' POSITIONS
At the conclusion of the Conference, once it was known the
Americans had withdrawn, excited news editors' first questions
tended to be "how many countries will formally sign the treaty in
Ottawa this December?" and "how did the countries vote?"
Those questions could only be given fuzzy answers. A precise
number for the Ottawa signing isn't available yet - estimates range
between 70 and over 100 states - and no voting occurred at any time
during the negotiations in Oslo that could made a head count that
much easier. The Chairs simply had to build what they felt was a
majority view, without formally recording which country stood for
what. Moreover, countries can still opt out or join in between now
Numbers anticipated for the Ottawa signing ceremony derive from
remarks made by the delegates, and known policy positions. It's a
matter of feel.
At the closing session, about twenty countries made statements
(see Appendix B), but even then, few of these said whether or not
their governments would sign the ban in December. Some States that
signed onto the Ottawa Process as full participants may not (like
Japan, Spain and Venezuela), while others that attended simply as
In a private aside while waiting for a phone line to his
capital, one source from an observer State said that his country
was "very, very close" to signing, and it depended on what a couple
of neighbouring States would decide. When asked if one could quote
him, he asked that not even his country be identified - "I'm the
only person in my country's delegation," he said.
In total, according to conference lists, 90 States came as full
participants; a further 32 chose to attend as observers. At least
10 organisations observed (almost half of them were UN agencies.
Others included the Organisation of American States, the
Organisation of African Unity, the International Committee of the
Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies, and the umbrella International Campaign to Ban
Note on Abbreviation: CCW P II S. P. = CCW Protocol II
State Party . This does not mean the State has ratified
amended Protocol II yet. To date, 10 States have ratified
the amended Protocol: the entry-into-force requirement is 20.
I. Participants to the Conference: Status and Positions as
Note: participants could contribute substantively to the text.
Selected comments from some of the closing statements are included.
Algeria - CD member
Antigua and Barbuda (representing CARICOM also)
Argentina - CD member
Australia - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II. It's not clear whether
Australia will sign the Treaty of Ottawa in December. That decison
will be made in Canberra. Diplomats say Australia would have
supported more flexibility to better accommodate US concerns, while
one senior source feels at this point, nothing in the treaty text
itself overtly stands in Australia's way.
Austria - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Will sign in Ottawa. Austria unilaterally banned all
anti-personnel landmines after the CCW Protocol II was amended last
Belgium - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member.
Will sign in Ottawa. Closing Statement said that making the ban
universal will be a long haul, specifically supports taking mines
to the CD "which we would be wrong ... to consider as opposed to
the Ottawa Process."
Bolivia - CD member
Bosnia and Herzegovina - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Brazil - CD member
In its closing speech, Brazil said it introduced the idea that
countries affected by mines "have the right to ask the
international community for help" in establishing their own
Cambodia - CCW P II S.P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II. Will sign the Ottawa
treaty this December. Closing statement said that a separate bill
is before the Cambodian government that (is expected to) "call for
a total ban and punishment for anyone who uses mines; ...(and) for
the complete destruction of stockpiles within two years after entry
into force of the law."
Cameroon - CD member
Canada - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Of course will sign in Ottawa.
Chile - CD member
Colombia - CD member
Has been part of the Ottawa Process core group since the late
winter; its closing speech stressed, in effect, that the rules of
the treaty apply equally to governmental and non-governmental
combatants in an internal conflict. "The parties to the conflict
shall make every effort to put into force the obligations of this
Convention through special agreements," without affecting the legal
status of the parties to a conflict.
Croatia - CCW P II S.P.
Czech Republic - CCW P II S.P.
Denmark - CCW P II S.P. NATO member
Has ratified amended CCW Protocol II. Will sign in Ottawa.
Ecuador - CCW P II S.P.
Ethiopia - CD member
France - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Will sign in Ottawa. Closing statement makes specific reference
to continuing mine talks in the CD, "(alongside) the United States,
to promote a ban on transfers."
Germany - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II. Will sign in Ottawa.
Hungary - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Iceland - NATO member - Will sign in Ottawa.
Ireland - CCW P II S.P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II.
Italy - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Will sign in Ottawa.
Japan - CD member - CCW P II S. P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II. Though a full participant
in the Ottawa Process, the decision on whether or not to sign in
Ottawa is pending. The Japanese government "did not raise
objection" to the adoption of the Convention text in Oslo. Japan
wanted States to be able to defer entry into force, implying de
facto support for the last US position before the US
Kenya - CD member
Although a full participant, Kuwait's closing statement suggests
it's not ready to sign a ban quite yet, as the Ottawa text does not
"address security issues to the nation which need it."
Liechtenstein - CCW P II S.P.
Luxembourg - NATO member
Will sign in Ottawa.
Has said it will sign the Ottawa treaty but is concerned that
"compliance with the reporting obligations thereunder may pose
practical problems," when the mines are in territory whose
sovereignty is disputed between two or more countries.
Mexico - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Monaco - CCW P II S.P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II.
Netherlands - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Will sign in Ottawa.
New Zealand - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Norway - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Will sign in Ottawa.
Papua New Guinea
Peru - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II. In its Oslo closing
statement, Peru felt obliged to state that the Ottawa treaty must
be applied according to the principles of international law, and in
"conflictual situations of an internal order." (my translation)
Philippines - CCW P II S.P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II. Is one of the core group
of countries that steered the Ottawa Process; in its Oslo closing
statement, it said it will sign the treaty in Ottawa.
Poland - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Portugal - NATO member
Will sign in Ottawa.
Senegal - CD member
Slovakia - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Slovenia - CCW P II S.P.
South Africa - CD member
Will sign in Ottawa
Spain - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member.
At Oslo it suggested it isn't ready to sign the Ottawa ban.
Sweden - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Has ratified CCW amended Protocol II.
Switzerland - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Will sign in Ottawa.
United Arab Emirates
UK - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Will sign in Ottawa.
US - CD member - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Withdrew from the Oslo conference on the last working day. The
US is expected to ratify CCW amended Protocol II in the next month.
Highly unlikely it will sign the Ottawa ban this December.
Uruguay - CCW P II S.P.
Venezuela - CD member
One of the countries that may not sign in Ottawa this December.
It had wanted to reserve the right to use anti-personnel landmines
in "exceptional situations, when the country's security and
territorial integrity (are) seriously menaced."
Zimbabwe - CD member
II. Observer States: Status and Positions as Known
Bangladesh - CD member
Belarus - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Bulgaria - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Egypt - CD member
Egypt's closing statement suggests clearing old mines from WWII
is almost as important as "other security concerns." So it
appreciates help offered in the Ottawa treaty for mine clearance
but it hasn't said it will sign Ottawa, preferring to "take a
decision on the Convention at a later stage."
Finland - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Closing statement challenged statistics in wide use on mine
proliferation, and offered a flat no on Ottawa, for now; but it
gave firm support to taking up mines in the CD this winter.
Moreover, Finalnd is to ratify CCW amended Protocol II "in the
Greece - CCW P II S.P. - NATO member
Won't sign in Ottawa, most likely.
India - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Indonesia - CD member
Islamic Republic of Iran - CD member
Latvia - CCW P II S.P.
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Morocco - CD member
Pakistan - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Republic of Korea - CD member
Romania - CD member
Russian Federation - CD member - CCW P II S.P.
Closing statement in effect says the Ottawa text is an
impediment to creating a global ban. Since December 1994, it says,
Russia has applied an export moratorium on "certain types of mines,
and is going to prolong it;" and strongly criticises the Ottawa ban
for excluding the "legitimate interests" of the States that did not
attend as full participants. Russia says the Ottawa text
"contravenes" CCW amended Protocol II, but did not say when it
could ratify revised Protocol II; Russia would prefer to discuss
mines in the CD. No mention of the UNGA.
Sri Lanka - CD member
Tunisia - CCW P II S.P.
Turkey - CD member - NATO member
Won't sign in Ottawa, most likely. In its closing statement, the
head of the Turkish delegation said the current text does not
address the "legitimate security requirements of a number of
States, including mine," but the language used is considerably less
strident than the Russian statement. The decision whether or not to
sign has not been made, but in the corridors no one expects Turkey
to sign unless - in particular - Greece does too.
Ukraine - CD member
III. Observer Organizations in Attendance
United Nations (UN)
In the Ottawa ban text, a clear distinction has been made
between what the UN Secretariat is supposed to do, and what the
Secretary-General is supposed to do. Concerning clarification of
compliance, the UN Secretariat's "understanding", is that, in
effect, one State Party asking on its own cannot oblige the UN to
send out fact-finding teams. That request must be authorised first
by a regular Meeting, or else a Special Meeting, of States
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Childrens' Fund (UNICEF)
World Food Programme (WFP)
Organization of American States (OAS)
Organization of African Unity (OAU)
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
International Federation of Red Crescent Societies
The Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Military Order of
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)
APPENDIX C:INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO THE CONFERENCE
Statement by Foreign Minister
'Landmines: Oslo Conference outcomes,' Statement by Foreign
Minister Alexander Downer, 18 September
"Agreement by the Oslo Conference to the text of an
anti-personnel landmines ban treaty is a significant development.
The Australian Government will be considering in the coming weeks
whether to sign the treaty when it is opened for signature in
Ottawa in December.
Australia played an active and constructive role in the Oslo
negotiations and I am pleased to note that, thanks in no small part
to our efforts, the treaty text as agreed is a stronger document in
areas such as definitions and verification - areas which are
central to the effectiveness of any contemporary arms control
The Government will need to consider how the Ottawa treaty
measures up against Australia's national interests and goals,
notably our commitment to an effective, global solution to the
international landmines problem. We will need to take account of
the fact that a number of countries central to the landmines
equation - major users and producers - have made clear that they
will have nothing to do with the Ottawa treaty.
Clearly, further work will be required in fore like the
Conference on Disarmament where these key countries are engaged and
are willing to address the landmines ban issue. Australia will
therefore redouble its efforts in this forum.
In addition, Australia will continue to play the leadership role
it has assumed in the area of de-mining and mine victim assistance
programs. Whatever the impact of the Ottawa treaty, its main focus
is on the future. Urgent and generous efforts are required of the
international community to address the ongoing tragic consequences
of past landmines use.
Since May 1996, Australia has pledged over $18 million to
regional and international mine-related humanitarian programs."
Statement by Foreign Minister
'Axworthy welcomes adoption of treaty banning landmines,'
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Press
Release, No. 149, 18 September
"Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy today welcomed the
formal adoption of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use,
Stockpiling and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their
Destruction. The text of the treaty was negotiated over the past
three weeks at a conference in Oslo, Norway.
'I believe we have succeeded in establishing what we set out to
achieve - a new norm against this terrible weapon. We have shown
that there are humanitarian limits to what is acceptable on the
battlefield. The result is that we now have an excellent treaty
that unambiguously bans anti-personnel mines with no exceptions and
no loopholes. This unprecedented outcome fully justifies the risk
we took last October when we challenged the world to sign a treaty
in just 14 months,' said Mr. Axworthy.
More than 100 countries worked together to reach this historic
accord and most are expected to come to Ottawa from 2-4 December
for the official signing conference.
'We have a lot of work ahead of us before December, and well
beyond. We want to take the opportunity at the December Conference
to launch, with our coalition partners, 'Ottawa Process II,' a
global action plan to universalize the treaty, to remove those
millions of mines already in the ground and to provide assistance
to victims,' added Mr. Axworthy.
While expressing regret at President Clinton's decision not to
endorse the treaty at this time, Minister Axworthy was hopeful that
the United States would soon be able to do so. He also noted that
the new measures announced by the President on 17 September, will
eventually bring the United States into compliance with the
Statement from European Commission
'Hans Van den Broek welcomes Landmines Convention,' Statement
by European Commission spokesperson, 19 September 1997
"Hans van den Broek, European Commissioner responsible for
Foreign Affairs, lauded the conclusion of the Oslo Conference on
anti-personnel landmines as a landmark in helping rid the world of
these inhumane weapons. He said: 'The European Union remains
committed to the objective of the total elimination of anti
personnel landmines. Ottawa will not be the end of the process. A
number of important countries have not yet given their support to
the Convention and we hope they will do so soon. Our work will not
be completed until there is an effective global ban, implemented by
all States; until all mines are cleared from areas of habitation
and economic use; and until all victims are properly cared for.
This is an daunting task and the European Commission will continue
its substantial practical, financial and political contribution to
this cause.' He congratulated all those that have participated so
effectively in this work and called upon all states to subscribe to
the Convention when it is open for signature in Ottawa on 3
Statement by Foreign Ministry Press Secretary,
'Anti-personnel landmines,' Press Conference by Press
Secretary Tanaka, 19 September 1997
"Regarding antipersonnel landmines, the Oslo Meeting has just
been concluded with the adoption of the agreement on landmines.
Japan has been participating in this process with two things in
mind. First, we would like to ensure that no damage is caused to
the security of Japan. Secondly, this treaty should be universal
and effective. In a concrete sense, in past rounds of negotiations,
we have made several proposals. For example, a grace period should
be allowed before the treaty takes effect and there should be
improvement of verification measures. Unfortunately, the proposal
for a grace period was not adopted by the Conference, but the
proposal for a verification process was in fact incorporated. It is
our belief that any agreement should first of all be universal and
secondly, it should be effective, in order to contain antipersonnel
landmines. In that sense, we should insist that this framework
include such countries as those producing, using or exporting
antipersonnel landmines. In fact, the Disarmament Commission of
Geneva, whose membership encompasses all these countries, should
deal with this issue as soon as possible. We will continue to
cooperate with the countries concerned. Having said that, I would
like to draw your attention to the fact that Japan has been
extending a considerable amount of assistance, as well as human
resources, to contain antipersonnel landmines. For example, we have
extended financial contributions totaling US$29.2 million in order
to remove landmines that have already been laid. This contribution
has been channeled through various United Nations organizations.
Contributions to the Republic of Afghanistan totaling US$17 million
have been channeled through such organizations as the UNOCHA. We
provided US$5 million to Cambodia through the CMAC, which is a
landmine center in Cambodia. We provided US$3 million to landmine
removal exercises by peace-keeping operations (PKO) in the former
Yugoslavia. Our financial contributions have even been extended to
Latin American countries, as well. Other than financial
contributions, we have been extending technical cooperation, e.g.,
medical cooperation, to the countries which suffer from the misery
of landmines. For example, in Cambodia, we built a rehabilitation
center for those who have suffered from landmines. We have also
provided a training center for the refugees who also share this
miserable destiny. On top of that, we hosted a Tokyo Conference
last March on the question of antipersonnel landmines. This was a
follow-up to what Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto proposed in
connection with the Lyon Summit. At this economic summit, he
stressed that we should strengthen our assistance through the
United Nations, through provision of technical assistance and
through providing support for those who have suffered from
Editor's note: answering questions following his
statement, spokesperson Tanaka was asked to comment on the
following remarks by Japan's Foreign Minister, Keizo Obuchi, on 19
September (quoted, for example, in 'Japan may go against US over
landmines,' Reuters, 19 September): "It would be contradictory for
Japan on one hand to contribute to the removal of landmines in
Cambodia and not accept the treaty on the other hand... It does not
make sense to reject the treaty." Tanaka observed:
"Minister for Foreign Affairs Keizo Obuchi said that Japan has
been extending various cooperation, for example, to Cambodia for
the removal of landmines. Japan is also providing financial
assistance. On the other hand, if Japan continues to stick to the
position that we count on landmines, then perhaps the two positions
might come into conflict. In this sense, and in light of global
trends that we see, Japan should do whatever is necessary.
Furthermore, he said that he certainly acknowledges that he
respects the judgement of the United States, he further said that
there are many people who have suffered from landmines - suffer in
the sense of losing their lives or limbs, and so forth. These
miseries were seen with our own eyes. In Cambodia, the Government
as well as the private sector has been trying to help the victims
of landmines. Foreign Minister Obuchi said that personally, against
this backdrop, if Japan does not accept this treaty, then perhaps
this is not logical. So, he stated that he would like to study this
issue further and that he would like see how the Government of
Japan would like to react to this in a final sense. And then,
someone quoted the position of the Defense Agency and asked a
question. Foreign Minister Obuchi further said that he heard that
the Defense Agency has its own view, but as for him, the Foreign
Minister in charge of the treaty, he has not yet received any
formal explanation about what to do on this treaty in the
Statement by Foreign Secretary
Statement by the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, Foreign and
Commonwealth Office (FCO) Daily Bulletin, 18 September
"I warmly welcome the agreement reached at Oslo on the text of a
treaty banning anti-personnel landmines. The treaty is the
beginning of the end for landmines. I am proud of the active and
constructive part the new Labour Government played throughout the
negotiations. We look forward to signing the Treaty in Ottawa in
This achievement is due in part to the work of Diana, Princess
of Wales, who did so much to focus the attention of the world on
the horrific effects of anti-personnel landmines.
But much work remains to be done. The United Kingdom will
continue to urge as many countries as possible to sign the Treaty.
In addition, we are pressing in Geneva for the negotiation of a
truly global ban."
Statement by Secretary-General
'Secretary-General Welcomes Adoption of Convention Banning
Anti-Personnel Mines,' United Nations Press Release, SG/SM/6332, 18
"The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the adoption of the
Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production
and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction in
Oslo today. By this act, a standard has been set for moving towards
the elimination of this 'invisible enemy', which kills innocent
civilians every day and robs people of their means of
The sense of mission and determination that were shown in
negotiating this treaty must be sustained. Governments will have to
allocate resources to implement its provisions, and everyone, in
various forums - the United Nations, the Conference on Disarmament,
regional organizations, review conferences of the Convention on
Certain Conventional Weapons, and non-governmental organizations -
will have to work strenuously to promote its universalization. The
Secretary-General pledges to fulfil the functions entrusted to him
and to the United Nations Secretariat under this new
Although a sound legal base for the struggle for the eradication
of landmines has been laid, the work of removing the millions of
mines already in the ground and of assisting the victims of mines
is ongoing. Each State party to this Convention in a position to do
so must do its part.
The Secretary-General expresses his gratitude to Canada for
having launched the initiative, to Norway for hosting the
conference that brought the process to a successful conclusion, and
to the other States that threw their strong support behind this
endeavour. He particularly wishes to thank the International
Committee of the Red Cross and all the non-governmental
organizations that played an indispensable role. He looks forward
to opening the new Convention for signature in Ottawa in
The Secretary-General hopes very much that those not in a
position to support the Convention now will be able to do so in the
near future. Work in the Conference on Disarmament will contribute
to universal adherence to a total ban."
Remarks by the President
'Remarks by the President on landmines,' The White House, 17
"Last month I instructed a US team to join negotiations then
underway in Oslo to ban all antipersonnel landmines. Our
negotiators worked tirelessly to reach an agreement we could sign.
Unfortunately, as it is now drafted, I cannot in good conscience
add America's name to that treaty. So let me explain why.
Our nation has unique responsibilities for preserving security
and defending peace and freedom around the globe. Millions of
people from Bosnia to Haiti, Korea to the Persian Gulf are safer as
a result. And so is every American. The men and women who carry out
that responsibility wear our uniform with pride, and...at no small
risk to themselves. They wear it secure in the knowledge, however,
that we will always, always do everything we can to protect our
As Commander-in-Chief, I will not send our soldiers to defend
the freedom of our people and the freedom of others without doing
everything we can to make them as secure as possible. For that
reason, the United States insisted that two provisions be included
in the treaty negotiated at Oslo. First, we needed an adequate
transition period to phase out the antipersonnel mines we now use
to protect our troops, giving us time to devise alternative
technologies. Second, we needed to preserve the antitank mines we
rely upon to slow down an enemy's armor defensive in a battle
These two requests are not abstract considerations. They reflect
the very dangerous reality we face on the ground as a result of our
global responsibilities. Take the Korean Peninsula. There, our
37,000 troops and their South Korean allies face an army of one
million North Koreans only 27 miles away from Seoul, Korea. They
serve there, our troops do, in the name and under the direct
mandate of the international community. In the event of an attack,
the North's overwhelming numerical advantage can only be countered
if we can slow down its advance, call in reinforcements and
organize our defense. Our antipersonnel mines there are a key part
of our defense line in Korea. They are deployed along a DMZ
[De-Militarized Zone] where there are no villages and no civilians.
Therefore, they, too, are not creating the problem we are trying to
address in the world.
We also need antitank mines there to deter or stop an armored
assault against our troops, the kind of attack our adversaries
would be most likely to launch. These antitank mines self-destruct
or deactivate themselves when the battle is over, and therefore,
they pose little risk to civilians.
We will continue to seek to deter a war that would cost
countless lives. But no one should expect our people to expose our
Armed Forces to unacceptable risks.
Now, we were not able to gain sufficient support for these two
requests. The final treaty failed to include a transition period
during which we could safely phase out our antipersonnel landmines,
including in Korea. And the treaty would have banned the antitank
mines our troops rely on from the outskirts of Seoul to the desert
border of Iraq and Kuwait - and this, in spite of the fact that
other nations' antitank systems are explicitly permitted under the
We went the extra mile and beyond to sign this treaty. And
again, I want to thank Secretary Cohen and General Shalikashvili
and especially I'd like to thank General Ralston for the enormous
effort that was made and the changes in positions and the
modifications in positions that the Joint Chiefs made, not once,
but three times, to try to move our country closer to other
countries so that in good faith we could sign this treaty.
But there is a line that I simply cannot cross, and that line is
the safety and security of our men and women in uniform. America
will continue to lead in ending the use of all antipersonnel mines.
The offer we made at Oslo remains on the table. We stand ready to
sign a treaty that meets our fundamental and unique security
requirements. With an adequate transition period to a world free of
antipersonnel landmines, this goal is within reach.
As further evidence of our commitment, I am announcing today a
series of steps America will take on its own to advance our efforts
to rid the world of landmines. First, I'm directing the Department
of Defense to develop alternatives to antipersonnel landmines so
that by the year 2003 we can end even the use of self-destruct
landmines... We want to end even the use of these landmines,
everywhere but Korea.
As for Korea, my directive calls for alternatives to be ready by
2006, the time period for which we were negotiating in Oslo. By
setting these deadlines, we will speed the development of new
technologies that I asked the Pentagon to start working on last
year. In short, this program will eliminate all antipersonnel
landmines from America's arsenal.
Second, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, David
Jones, has agreed to be a personal advisor to me and to Secretary
Cohen to help us make sure the job gets done. ...
Third, we will significantly increase our de-mining programs. No
nation devotes more expertise or resources to the problem than we
do today. Next year, we currently plan to provide $68 million for
worldwide de-mining efforts - almost as much as the rest of the
world combined. We will begin de-mining work in as many as eight
new countries, including Chad, Zimbabwe, and Lebanon.
But we can, and will, do more. I am proposing that we increase
funding for de-mining by about 25 percent beginning next year.
Fourth, we will redouble our efforts to establish serious
negotiations for a global antipersonnel landmine ban in the
Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We will begin by seeking an
export ban next year, and one that applies to the major landmine
producers, the people who themselves caused this problems because
they're making and selling these landmines - none of them were
present in Oslo - in the end, we have to get them on board, as
I am determined to work closely with the Congress, with Senator
Leahy, Senator Hagel and others, to implement this package,
because, I think together we can take another step in the
elimination of landmines that will be decisive."
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.
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