THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
U.S. Efforts to Address the Problem of Anti-Personnel Landmines
The Administration is committed to addressing the humanitarian crisis caused by the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines (APL). It is estimated that every year more than 25,000 people are maimed or killed by these weapons. To this end, the Administration has pursued a broad range of efforts to control the transfer and use of APL, as well as to protect civilians from those APL that have already been laid in the ground through mine awareness and mine clearance programs.
Since 1992, the United States has observed an export moratorium on APL. The United States has urged other countries to adopt export moratoria as well. To date, more than 30 nations have joined us.
In 1994, in his UN General Assembly address, President Clinton initiated the call for the eventual elimination of APL. Since then, the UN General Assembly has adopted annually by consensus a resolution supporting this goal.
Also at the UN General Assembly, in 1994, the President proposed an international agreement to reduce the number and availability of APL. A first meeting on the program to restrict the production, stockpile and transfer of APL was held in June, 1995. Consultations on it continue.
The United States pressed for tighter restrictions on APL use in the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). At the conclusion of the CCW Review Conference on May 3, 1996, a number of important improvements to the CCW were adopted, including provisions that: all APL must be detectable, all non-self-destructing APL can only be used in marked and monitored areas, and self-destructing/self-deactivating APL must have a lifespan of no more than 120 days with a combined self-destruct/self-deactivate reliability rate of 99.9%. CCW parties also agreed that the new rules should be extended to internal armed conflicts. The United States contributes to demining programs around the world. In fiscal year 1996, the United States government will spend about $32 million in cash and in-kind contributions to demining programs in fourteen countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Laos, Mozambique, Namibia, OAS/IADB regional program in Central America (Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua) and Rwanda. -- In Bosnia, the United States has led the effort to establish a Mine Action Center in Sarajevo, which coordinates mine information, education, and demining activities there. The United States provided the initial $8.5 million for the Center. The Department of Defense is pursuing research and
development of technology specifically designed for the needs of humanitarian demining operations. The FY97 request for this program is about $7 million.
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