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Compliance with G8 Commitments:
From Denver 1997 to Birmingham 1998

~ Compliance Content ~

Compliance Studies by Issue Area:
Antipersonnel Landmines


"We reaffirm the UN General Assembly resolution, approved overwhelmingly, calling for concluding an effective, legally binding international agreement to ban anti-personnel landmines as soon as possible".

France: Score: +1

France has signed the International Convention Against Antipersonnel Landmines. The French Government has begun the destruction of its existing stock of landmines and intends to fully complete these efforts by the end of 2000. It is expected that the Ottawa Convention will be ratified by the French Parliament by the summer of 1998. Moreover, France intends to increase its financial and technical resource contributions to humanitarian mine clearance.

United States: Score: 0

Although the United States did not sign the Ottawa treaty banning landmines, they have made a significant effort to comply with at least the spirit of the treaty, if not the letter. The US has doubled its yearly allocation of funding towards demining to $80-million and has called for a five-fold increase in the international fund for mine clearance - an increase that would bring funding up to $1 billion a year. This fund would support the United States' "Demining 2010 Initiative" to be spearheaded by Karl Inderfurth, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. The Demining 2010 Initiative brings together key donor governments, international organizations, and regional organizations representing mine-affected countries to define the elements of an international coordinating mechanism for global humanitarian demining, landmine survivor assistance, and research and development of demining technology. The U.S. will hold an international conference toward this end on May 20-22, shortly after the Birmingham Summit, in Washington, D.C. The Washington Conference will jumpstart the Demining 2010 Initiative and will focus specifically on the question of international coordination to accelerate humanitarian demining and raise resources, both public and private. The emphasis will be on major donor assistance and the role of international organizations, seeking to consolidate the results of previous international conferences in Tokyo and Ottawa.

As the United States has clearly taken substantial action in this area, they have been awarded a score of "0" for their efforts towards compliance (but not signature) with the Ottawa Treaty. The reason that the United States did not sign the treaty was their objection to the removal of landmines on the Korean peninsula between North and South Korea that would be required under the convention.

Britain: Score: +1

Britain signed the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines on December 3, 1997, and is accelerating the treaty's implementation. Following the Treaty's signature, Britain began an immediate program to destroy a million landmines held by Britain's Armed Forces. British Defense Secretary George Robertson outlined this destruction plan in late January 1998. The implementation of this plan will leave Britain with just 4,000 mines that will be retained for demining training only (this is allowed under the Treaty terms). Britain had already destroyed over 5,000 mines prior to the announcement of the new program for mine destruction. This program sets dramatically higher targets that also call for the contractors to meet tough environmental standards throughout the destruction and disposal of the mines. Robertson, underlining Britain's strong commitment to the spirit of the Ottawa Treaty, stated that Britain is determined to reach the targets set out by the Treaty in two years - half the time stated under the terms of the treaty. Robertson concluded by stressing that the UK would also be actively involved in demining efforts in other countries, offering guidance and advice in support of worldwide humanitarian demining programs.

Germany: Score: +1

On December 3, 1997, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel signed the International Convention against Anti-Personnel Landmines.

Japan: Score: +1

The Government of Japan signed the December 3, 1997 International Convention against Anti-Personnel Landmines and has granted approximately US$80 million over the next five years through Official Development Assistance in the field of demining and assistance to victims.

Until an agreement can be reached on a global ban, Japan will unilaterally seek to advance necessary measures to modify its anti-personnel landmines into self-destructing ones, will seek to not acquire any non-self-destructing anti-personnel landmines, and will pursue studies of alternatives to anti-personnel landmines that will not inflict harm on civilians.

Italy: Score: +1

Italy signed the Ottawa Convention against anti-personnel landmines on December 3, 1997. The convention was subsequently endorsed by the Italian Parliament. As a result, a bill was approved by Parliament that bans the production, use, stockpiling and export of antipersonnel landmines. In addition, the bill reduces the Italian Armed Forces' possession of mines from 200,000 to 10,000 and restricts their use to mine sweeping exercises only. Moreover, Italy intends to increase its funding to mine clearance and assistance to mine victims programs. The Italian Government seeks to forge closer ties with international agencies in this regard.

Canada: Score: +1

Canada was among the first of the G8 nations to sign the Global ban on landmines in December 1997. The Canadian Government stipulated in its February 1998 federal budget that it would provide funding in order to ban landmines. Some of this funding includes: 1) $10 million to be spent over the next five years in support of an innovative mine action program in Bosnia; 2) $1 million to be provided by CIDA to assist with demining efforts in Cambodia; 3) $1 million to be provided by CIDA to the UN Centre for Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan. In addition, the Canadian Government resolved in November 1997 to destroy all existing stockpiles of landmines.

Russia: Score: 0

Although Russia has been included in the negotiations for the Ottawa Treaty, Russia did not sign on to the protocol. It is also unclear whether prior promises by the Russians to create a special budget for clearing mines in Bosnia and elsewhere will materialize as Russia has little capacity for financial expenditure in this area. Boris Yeltsin has, however, suggested that Russia, like the United States, may opt into the treaty at a later date. Until that time, Yeltsin has shown his support for the Ottawa Treaty by signing a decree which extends the Russian ban on the export of certain APM's (anti-personnel landmines) for five years. As this is a step towards the implementation of the Ottawa Treaty and signifies a work-in-progress towards the signing of the Treaty, Russia is awarded a score of "0".

Reports produced by Thalia Lidakis, Gina Stephens and Mary Tompros

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