The Ottawa Treaty has gained its 163rd signatory! As of December 13, Sri Lanka has officially joined the Treaty and committed to both clearing the remaining minefields in the country and destroying existing stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines.
Sri Lanka participated as an observer in the original Ottawa Process, but decided not to join officially due to alleged security requirements in the government struggle against the Tamil Tigers (1983-2009). Sri Lankan officials report that the country has never produced or exported landmines, but the army has acknowledged using landmines in the past. For its part, the Tamil Tigers both produced and used landmines during the civil war.
Mine clearance organizations in Sri Lanka are hoping to remove all remaining landmines by 2020.
All signatories to the Ottawa Treaty will be gathering in Vienna from December 18-21 for the 16th annual meeting of state parties.