After reviewing the Bush-era policy, the Obama White House has decided to maintain the prior administration’s refusal to sign an international treaty banning land mines, according to published reports.
“More than 150 countries have agreed to the Mine Ban Treaty’s provisions to end the production, use, stockpiling and trade in mines,” the Associated Press noted. “Besides the United States, holdouts include: China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Russia.”
“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,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly reportedly said.
Advocacy organizations like Human Rights Watch had urged administration officials to sign the treaty. The United States is the largest worldwide contributor to the recovery of undetonated mines, which still pose a severe danger to civilians in 70 countries. No land mines have been produced by the U.S. since 1997, when the Land Mine Ban Treaty took effect. The last time American forces deployed the weapon was during the 1991 invasion of Iraq.
According to the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines (ICBL), efforts undertaken in 1999 to recover mines “have saved millions of lives through the removal of more than 2.2 million emplaced antipersonnel mines, 250,000 antivehicle mines, and 17 million” explosive remnants of war.
Last year land mines “killed at least 1,266 people and wounded 3,891,” AP added, citing the ICBL. One third of the deaths were children, according to the group.
“In contravention of the treaty, however, the United States stockpiles some 10 million antipersonnel mines and retains the option to use them,” Reuters reported.
Greenland row is Donald Trump positioning for an Arctic battle: expert
The diplomatic row that has erupted between Washington and Copenhagen over Greenland is just one part of a broader strategic battle being waged over control of the Arctic, according to one expert.
US President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to Denmark and launched a war of words with his Danish counterpart, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, after she rejected his idea of the US buying Greenland as "absurd".
Mikaa Mered, professor of polar geopolitics at Paris' ILERI institute of international relations said Trump's unsolicited advances on the autonomous territory were a way to indicate US interest in the resource-rich Arctic -- and to distract from domestic issues.
‘We won’t give an inch’: India faces defiance in ‘Kashmir’s Gaza’
Young men sit beside a pile of rocks and a bonfire, protecting the only entrance to a besieged neighbourhood they call "Kashmir's Gaza" as a mosque loudspeaker broadcasts slogans of liberation.
In an act of defiance against New Delhi's controversial decision to strip the Muslim-majority region of its autonomy, Soura neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kashmir's main city of Srinagar has sealed itself off from security forces.
Since early August, residents have erected ramshackle barricades of tin sheets, wooden logs, oil tanks and concrete pillars, and dug trenches to keep soldiers at bay amid daily protests against India.
Second day of Italy crisis talks after prime minister resigns
Italy's president will hold a second day of talks aimed at solving the political crisis shaking the country on Thursday after the disintegration of the populist government.
President Sergio Mattarella will meet the main parties, including the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and far-right League, after the breakdown of their dysfunctional coalition.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday after months of alliance sniping and a bid by League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to force a snap election, just 14 months since coming to power.
The nationalist, populist government's demonisation of migrants, promoted by Salvini in particular, and attempts to flout EU budget rules had angered many European leaders.