Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The United States provided the first clue to its unchanged landmine treaty policy Tuesday 1 December in Cartagena, Colombia, saying its ongoing review of the policy will take time. The US baffled the world a week ago by first saying it had decided not to sign the Ottawa Convention, then two days later saying the matter was still under review. No explanation was given at the time. The Ottawa Convention, signed by 156 countries and in force since 1999, is also known as the international Mine Ban treaty. The Cartagena Summit in Colombia this week is the second five-year review of the progress made under the treaty.
The US issued a brief statement at the conference, saying that “the Administration’s decision to attend this Review Conference is the result of an on-going comprehensive review of US landmine policy initiated at the direction of President Obama.
“This is the first comprehensive review since 2003. As such, it will take some time to complete, given that we must ensure that all factors are considered, including possible alternatives to ensure protection of U.S. troops and the civilians they protect around the world. The Administration applauds the significant accomplishments to date by the Convention in addressing the harmful effects of indiscriminate landmines and is committed to a continued U.S. leadership role in humanitarian mine action.”
The Cartagena Summit has been organized by a secretariat in Geneva working with the Colombian government.