Bush Urged to Redirect Landmine Policy Review

Article excerpt

Concerned that the Pentagon plans to oppose U.S. accession to a treaty banning anti-personnel landmines (APLs), 124 members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to President George W. Bush on December 19 urging him to redirect an ongoing U.S. landmine policy review toward the goal of eliminating APLs from the U.S. arsenal.

Led by Congressman James McGovern (D-MA), the representatives wrote that they wanted to express "serious concern" about the direction of the Bush administration's review. They claimed to have received reports that the Pentagon supports abandoning a May 1998 pledge by President Bill Clinton that the United States would accede to the Ottawa Convention-which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of APLs-by 2006 if Washington succeeds in "identifying and fielding suitable alternatives" for its APLs and mixed anti-tank mines by that time. The members of Congress charged that the Pentagon also reportedly called for an end to efforts eliminating all U.S. dumb mines by 2003, a stop to the search for APL alternatives, and a declaration of an "indefinite need" for anti-personnel landmines. …