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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 18, September 1997

Stage Three Of The Ottawa Process: The Oslo Diplomatic 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 Vienna.

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 compliance).

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 period.

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 ICBL.

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 countries."

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 support.

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 lawyer.

Fall Calendar

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.



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 destruction,

Wishing to do their utmost in providing assistance for...mine victims,

Recognising that a total ban...would also be an important confidence-building measure,

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 so,

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 the world,

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 agreement,

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 relevant fora...,

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 combatants,

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 circumstances:

a) To use anti-personnel mines;

b) To develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, anti-personnel mines;

c) To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.

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 Transfers.

Mined Areas:

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 Mines

"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 State Party."

Article 5: Destruction of Anti-Personnel Mines in Mined Areas

"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 State Party.

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 other means...

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 extension...

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 request...

6. Such an extension may be renewed upon the submission of a new request..."


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 Britain.)

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 possible.

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 information...

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 mines.

6. Each State Party undertakes to provide information to the database on mine clearance established within the United Nations...

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 program..."


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 likewise.

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 9;

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 mines...

g) The types and quantities of all anti-personnel mines destroyed after the entry into force of this Convention for that State Party...

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 Compliance

"1. The States Parties agree to consult and cooperate with each other regarding the implementation of the provisions of this Convention...

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 Special Meeting...

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 discourse).

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 about themselves.

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 Convention...

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 observers..."

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 years. ...

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 observers..."

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 observers...

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 acceptance."

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 Accession

"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 deposited.

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 convention.

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 force."

Article 19: Reservations

"The Articles of this Convention shall not be subject to reservations."

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"



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 and December.

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 observers, may.

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 Landmines.)

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 Known

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 year.


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 demining programmes.

Burkina Faso

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.

Cape Verde

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.

Costa Rica

Côte d'Ivoire

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.

Dominican Republic

Ecuador - CCW P II S.P.

El Salvador

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. Ghana



Holy See


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 withdrew.


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.

Macedonia (FYROM)






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.


San Marino

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.

Brunei Darussalam

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 nearest future."


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.

Saudi Arabia


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 Parties.

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 (IFRC)

The Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)



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 treaty.

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 treaty."

European Union

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 December."


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 landmines."

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 Government."

United Kingdom

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 December.

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."

United Nations

Statement by Secretary-General

'Secretary-General Welcomes Adoption of Convention Banning Anti-Personnel Mines,' United Nations Press Release, SG/SM/6332, 18 September

"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 livelihood.

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 Convention.

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 December.

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."

United States

Remarks by the President

'Remarks by the President on landmines,' The White House, 17 September 1997

"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 own.

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 situation.

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 treaty.

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 well.

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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