U.S. reacts to civil society outcry on landmine treaty policy
This statement was contrary to the position first outlined by Department of State spokesperson Ian Kelly in response to a reporter's question during a briefing last Tuesday, November 24. Kelly's original announcement was followed by a fierce outcry from civil society, non-governmental organizations and the international community including the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Although members of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines welcomed the reversal in the U.S. position and their participation at the Review Conference, campaigners remain guardedly optimistic about the motives behind such an abrupt change.
"We are very pleased in that the U.S. has declared that a policy review of its position on the Mine Ban Treaty is ongoing and we view their participation in this conference as a good first step", said Sylvie Brigot, ICBL Executive Director. "The next step is to have a transparent and inclusive review done in consultation with NGO mine action experts and NATO allies in a timely manner. We also need the U.S. to recognize - and accept - that landmines are an outdated, increasingly obsolete weapon and that searching for an alternative for security purposes is no longer a relevant argument for not joining the treaty."
The United States is currently one of only 39 countries that have not yet joined the treaty. In the Western Hemisphere, only the U.S and Cuba are non-signatories. Every other member of NATO except Poland (which has already signed and will ratify in 2012) are also States Parties to the treaty.
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