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Media Note: 3rd Review Conference of the Convention on Chemical Weapons
November 3, 2006

Review Conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman

Washington, DC

The United States will participate in the Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, Switzerland, November 7– 17, 2006. This conference will review the operation of the Convention’s protocols, welcome the entry into force of a new protocol on explosive remnants of war, and consider new restrictions on anti-vehicle landmines.

Anti-vehicle landmines can pose as great a threat to civilians as anti-personnel landmines (see Fact Sheet at www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/75516.htm), yet the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons does not include provisions on them as strict as those on anti-personnel mines. The United States has worked vigorously with the majority of other delegations to finalize an anti-vehicle mine protocol, proposing in 2001 that anti-vehicle mines be detectable, have limits on their active life, and precluding the transfer of mines not meeting these requirements. We call upon the remaining delegations to seize the opportunity to adopt the protocol at this conference, or to admit that it is not possible to achieve consensus at this time. United States policy already bans the use of non-detectable mines by its armed forces and sets stringent landmine active life and transfer standards.

The United States urges all states to adhere to Protocol V to the Convention on Explosive Remnants of War, which enters into force on November 12. President Bush transmitted this Protocol to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent to ratification on June 20, 2006. The United States is committed to high standards in handling, transporting, and storing munitions to increase their reliability. The United States also has strict rules of engagement and targeting methods to lessen post-conflict threats, and supports the sharing of munitions strike data with humanitarian organizations. Protocol V, in combination with the existing law of war, and the Geneva and Hague Conventions, will mitigate the effect of explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions, on civilians. The United States believes that states should now focus on fully implementing Protocol V and applicable law of war rules, and not on negotiating new rules on cluster munitions or other explosive remnants of war.