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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 44, March 2000

Anniversary of Ottawa Convention Entry-into-Force

March 1 marked the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Ottawa Convention aimed at securing a total, global ban on anti-personnel landmines. As of March 1 the Convention had been signed by 137 states and ratified by 91. The United States is among the prominent non-parties, and on the date of the anniversary a petition was presented to the President by the US Landmine Survivors Association urging US accession. Signed so far by over 1,300 survivors of landmine accidents from 17 nations, the petition calls on the President to "fulfil and complete the leadership you initiated in 1994 when you were the first head of state calling for a ban," adding: "We know that you are concerned with our well-being. And we know that you want no child's future cut short by a landmine. … We urge you to review United States landmine policy again before you leave office, and use your power to align American with the Landmine Ban Treaty rather than leaving this to the chance of some future President." Current US policy states an aspiration to join the accord in 2006 if technological alternatives can be found to the huge numbers of landmines currently deployed in the Korean Peninsular.

The following statement was issued on March 1 by the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: "The Secretary-General wishes to congratulate the parties…as well as their partners in civil society on the first anniversary… Their commitment to the total eradication of anti-personnel mines has brought us thus far in an astonishingly short period of time. … He takes this opportunity to call upon those states that have not yet signed it to accede, and those that have signed but not yet ratified it to do so without delay, so that it may achieve universalization as soon as possible."

Reports: Secretary-General congratulates parties to anti-personnel mine convention on first anniversary of entry into force, UN Press Release SG/SM/7320, March 1; Land mine victims urge Clinton to sign pact, Reuters, March 1; Clinton receives land mine appeal, Associated Press, March 2.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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