The White House
May 16, 1996

U.S. ANNOUNCES ANTI-PERSONNEL LANDMINE POLICY

People in 64 countries, mostly in the developing world, face a daily threat of being killed or maimed by the estimated 100 million landmines in place today. Anti-Personnel Landmines (APL) claim more than 25,000 casualties each year, obstruct economic development and keep refugees from returning to their homeland. As more than a million mines are still being laid each year, they will remain a growing threat to civilian populations for decades unless action is taken now.

The U.S. initiative sets out a concrete path to a global ban on APL but ensures that as the United States pursues this ban, essential U.S. military requirements and commitments to our allies will be protected.

International Ban-The United States will agressively pursue an international agreement to ban use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines with a view to completing the negotiation as soon as possible.

Korea Exception-The United States views the security situation on the Korean Peninsula as a unique case and in the negotiation of this agreement will protect our right to use APL there until alternatives become available or the risk of aggression has been removed.

Ban on Non-Self-Destructing APL-Effective immediately, the United States will unilaterally undertake not to use, and to place in inactive stockpile status with intent to demilitarize by the end of 1999, all non-self-destructing APL not needed to (a) train personnel engaged in demining and countermining operations, or (b) defend the United States and its allies from armed aggression across the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Self-Destructing APL-Between now and the time an international agreement takes effect, the United States will reserve the option to use self-destructing/self-deactivating APL, subject to the restrictions the United States has accepted in the Convention on Conventional Weapons, in military hostilities to safeguard American lives and hasten the end of fighting.

Annual Report-Beginning in 1999, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will submit an annual report to the President and the Secretary of Defense outlining his assessment of whether there remains a military requirement for the exceptions noted above.

Program to Eliminate-The President has directed the Secretary of Defense to undertake a program of research, procurement, and other measures needed to eliminate the requirement for these exceptions and to permit both the United States and our allies to end reliance on APL as soon as possible.

Expanding Demining Efforts-The Department of Defense will undertake a substantial program to develop improved mine detection and clearing technology and to share this improved technology with the broader international community. The Department of Defense will also significantly expand its humanitarian demining program to train and assist other countries in developing effective demining programs.