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U.S. Won’t Join Landmine Ban

A worker attempts to clear landmines along the border between Jordan and Syria in July 2008.Charley Keyes writes on CNN:

The United States won’t join its NATO allies and many other countries in formally banning landmines, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said during his midday briefing Tuesday.

“This administration undertook a policy review and we decided our landmine policy remains in effect,” Kelly said in response to a question. “We made our policy review and we determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign this convention.”

Opponents of the U.S. landmine policy said they were surprised. “It is a disturbing development,” said Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch. “The administration never said a policy review was under way.”

Goose said the decision to leave the policy in place is at odds with the administration’s professed commitments to international agreements and humanitarian issues. “The international treaty against landmines has made a a huge difference and it is a very strong deterrent,” Goose said.

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