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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 16, 1997


Anti-Personnel Landmines

One year ago today, President Clinton called for the negotiation of a worldwide agreement to ban the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines (APL) -- the hidden killers that murder or maim more than 25,000 individuals every year. Since then, the United States has led the way in this effort by securing a vote of 156-0 in the UN General Assembly endorsing the goal of a ban, proposing the establishment of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, and undertaking a program to identify APL alternatives so we can end our reliance on these weapons as soon as possible.

Noting the Senate's recent and timely approval of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the CFE Flank Agreement, the President urges the Senate to give its advice and consent to the pending protocol on landmines prior to the summer recess. "This protocol significantly strengthens the restrictions on landmine use," said the President. "If adhered to, it will save many lives and prevent many tragic injuries. It is an essential step toward a total ban."

Thursday in Geneva, pursuing the President's goal, ACDA Director John Holum called on the Conference on Disarmament to promptly agree to commence negotiations for a global ban. The United States welcomes the draft mandate for an Ad Hoc Committee, proposed yesterday at the Conference by Japan and Hungary, as a sound basis for these talks.

We will continue to press for global action to end the cruel and unnecessary carnage caused by these merciless weapons.

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