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Compliance Study: United Kingdom

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Non-Proliferation of Weapons - Landmines - Score: +1

"We call upon all States to spare no effort in securing a global ban on the scourge represented by the proliferation and indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines and welcome the moratoria and bans already adopted by a number of countries on the production, use and export of these weapons, unilateral reductions in stockpiles as well as initiatives to address this urgent problem."

The United Kingdom has a long history of controlling the production and the export of landmines. Many initiatives had been taken before this commitment had been announced at the Lyon Summit in 1996.

The United Kingdom announced its support for a total ban in April of 1996. At that time the United Kingdom extended its existing export moratorium to prohibit the export of all anti-personnel landmines to all countries. A formal national ban was first placed on the export of all "dumb" anti-personnel landmines, as well as a selective ban on the exports of "smart mines, in 1994. However, the last export of anti-personnel landmines from the UK had been some 10 years previous.

The United Kingdom continued its strong effort to ban anti-personnel mines throughout 1996 by announcing the unilateral destruction of nearly half of its own stockpile, and this effort is well advanced. The UK played a leading role in the Ottawa Conference in October of 1996 which addressed the issue of the implementation of a worldwide ban.

Since 1991 the UK has continued to support both financially (#21 million pounds) and in terms of other resources to the effort to remove mines from countries such as Angola, Cambodia, and Mozambique. The UK supports programs such as mine awareness education and rehabilitation of mine victims as well.

More recently in January of this year the UK tabled new proposals for the world wide elimination of landmines at a conference in Geneva, and called as a first step for the Conference to agree to a universal ban on exports of anti-personnel mines by September 1997.

With the advent of the new government the support for the ban of anti-personnel landmines was reinforced. Dates were fixed for the complete destruction of the UK's own stock of landmines (2005) and a national ban on the operational use of its landmines to 2005 or until a comprehensive international agreement is reached, which ever comes first. The new government committed to a complete ban on the import, export, transfer, or manufacture of anti-personnel mines in the UK and also pledged its support for the "Ottawa Process", and to speed up the removal of mines already laid around the world. The new government has also entered into close cooperation with France and Germany to bring about a world wide ban.

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