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No change on landmines from Obama

It appears the Obama adminstiration will retain the United States’s longstanding refusal to sign the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty: "This administration undertook a policy review and we decided our landmine policy remains in effect," [Sate Department Spokesman Ian] Kelly said in response to a question. "We made our policy review and we determined that we ...

It appears the Obama adminstiration will retain the United States’s longstanding refusal to sign the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty:

"This administration undertook a policy review and we decided our landmine policy remains in effect," [Sate Department Spokesman Ian] Kelly said in response to a question. "We made our policy review and we determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign this convention."

The U.S. participated in the drafting of the treaty but has refused to sign, largely because of the use of mines on the Korean peninsula. The announcement comes before a review of the treaty’s progress in Colombia next week. 

The decision has disappointed mine ban advocates like Senator Patrick Leahy, who called it a "lost opportunity for the United States to show leadership instead of joining with China and Russia and impeding progress."

But the adminsitration’s decision is probably a moot point anyway since it’s unlikely the White House could get the 67 Senate votes required to ratify the treaty anyway, particularly with tough congressional fights looming on the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, Law of the Sea and others.   

It appears the Obama adminstiration will retain the United States’s longstanding refusal to sign the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty:

"This administration undertook a policy review and we decided our landmine policy remains in effect," [Sate Department Spokesman Ian] Kelly said in response to a question. "We made our policy review and we determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign this convention."

The U.S. participated in the drafting of the treaty but has refused to sign, largely because of the use of mines on the Korean peninsula. The announcement comes before a review of the treaty’s progress in Colombia next week. 

The decision has disappointed mine ban advocates like Senator Patrick Leahy, who called it a "lost opportunity for the United States to show leadership instead of joining with China and Russia and impeding progress."

But the adminsitration’s decision is probably a moot point anyway since it’s unlikely the White House could get the 67 Senate votes required to ratify the treaty anyway, particularly with tough congressional fights looming on the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, Law of the Sea and others.   

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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