ObamaIn his 1994 address to the United Nations General Assembly, then United States President Bill Clinton stated that his country would eventually eliminate its use of anti-personnel landmines (APL). On September 23 this week, the Obama Administration announced further policy changes that bring the U.S. closer to that goal.  According to a White House press release, the U.S. is specifically aligning its

“APL policy outside the Korean Peninsula with the key requirements of the Ottawa Convention, the international treaty prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of APL, which more than 160 countries have joined, including all of our NATO Allies.”

This means that the U.S. will:

  • not use APL outside the Korean Peninsula;
  • not assist, encourage, or induce anyone outside the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity prohibited by the Ottawa Convention; and
  • undertake to destroy APL stockpiles not required for the defense of the Republic of Korea.

These changes to U.S. APL policy build on promises made by the Obama Administration in June at the Third Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention in Maputo, Mozambique. At the Conference, the U.S. pledged “not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel munitions that are not compliant with the Ottawa Convention, including to replace such munitions as they expire in the coming years.”

Although efforts in support of the Ottawa Treaty need further strengthening, this recent policy change by the U.S. will significantly reduce the production and use of landmines throughout the world. For more information, please click here to read the official White House press release.