An official website of the United States government

Twelfth Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II on Landmine, Booby-Traps and other E
November 24, 2010

Opening Statement for the United States Delegation by

Melanie Khanna, Head of Delegation

24 November 2010

Thank you, Mr. President and congratulations on your election to the Presidency. On behalf of the members of my delegation, we are pleased to be here as a party to the Convention and all of its protocols, and you have our full support.

The United States is strongly committed to continuing its global leadership in eliminating the humanitarian risks posed by landmines.

Since 1993, the United States has provided more than $1.8 billion toward humanitarian mine action and removing explosive remnants of war in 80 countries. Hard copies of the Department of States Conventional Weapons Destruction program report on assistance, the ninth edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety, are available at the back of the room. The report is also posted on the Department of State’s Website (http://www.state.gov/t/pm/wra/index.htm).

To further advance the humanitarian goals reflected in Amended Protocol II, the United States has ended use of all non-detectable anti-vehicle landmines, in addition to non-detectable anti-personnel landmines that are covered by Amended Protocol II. The United States will also end all use of persistent mines, both anti-personnel and anti-vehicle, by the end of this year.

We participated actively in the informal Expert Group meeting this April and found it valuable to exchange views on best practices related to implementation of the Protocol. We wish to thank both of the Protocol II coordinators for their excellent reports and work this year. We believe that it is important to call attention to Parties’ responsibilities with respect to IEDs. We are prepared to support the coordinator’s ideas for future discussion, but we believe the specific recommendations require some refinements so as to ensure we are not purporting to create new obligations or duplicating work already being done in other fora. We have shared our thoughts on this with the coordinator and are prepared to continue to consult with him and other interested States Parties so as to finalize language on recommendations for our continued work on IEDs.

On a separate topic, we appreciate the coordinator’s paper regarding the termination of original Protocol II and we strongly encourage those who are not yet party to amended Protocol II to consider joining as soon as possible. Until such time as all Parties to original Protocol II are party to amended Protocol II, we will not be in a position to support termination of original Protocol II. We can, however, support the coordinator’s current recommendations for taking this issue forward.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Points on IED Coordinator’s report:

The United States agrees that prevention of IED use is an important objective and that it is appropriate to discuss aspects of this problem in the context of the Amended Protocol II.

We appreciate the efforts that coordinator has put into organizing and focusing our discussions on those areas most related to APII.

That said, we had some concerns with the recommendations for continuing our work as presented in the Coordinator’s paper. We sought clarification of these recommendations with the Coordinator to gain a better understanding of the intent of the recommendations and to share our ideas about how the CCW could best add value to existing and ongoing work in other fora.

Based on these conversations, we are prepared to be supportive of the coordinator’s key ideas, but believe the recommendations require some rewording.

For instance our work next year should not purport to create new obligations for states parties. We also want to be sure the scope of our work does not duplicate work that is being effectively undertaken in other fora.

We are prepared to consult with the coordinator and other interested states parties to finalize alternative language that will allow us to support the continuation of this work.