Statement by Stephen Mathias, Head of the U.S. Delegation
The United States is pleased to participate in this 11th conference of High Contracting Parties to Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-traps, and Other Devices, as amended in 1996. The United States landmine policy, as announced in 2004, meets or exceeds all of the provisions of Amended Protocol II. Our national report, provided to the Secretariat today, provides updates to our previous reports, primarily related to assistance activities. In addition to our national implementation of the Protocol, we provide a range of humanitarian mine action assistance to countries around the world.
Since 1993 alone, the United States has provided over $1.5 billion is assistance to 54 countries around the world. These funds support mine and unexploded ordnance clearance, national landmine surveys, mine risk education, mine survivors assistance, research and development on better ways to find and clear landmines, training for foreign mine action managers to run their nations’ programs more effectively, and other activities related to the threat posed to civilians by landmines and other explosive remnants of war. A more detailed description of our assistance programs is contained in our assistance report: To Walk the Earth in Safety. Copies of the 2009 edition can be found on the back table.
The United States has been pleased to participate in the expert meetings on the implementation of Amended Protocol II. The presentations and subsequent discussions on improvised explosive devices provided useful information for delegations.
It is clear that there are actions that states can take to guard against these devices and we continue support the expert discussions in this area. We note that it is important to maintain a realistic view of what can be achieved within the scope of Amended Protocol II. Focused discussion on connections with Protocol V may prove to have value.
Mr. President, be assured of our full support as our preside over this important meeting.