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Ottawa Treaty: Local push for US to ban mines

Ottawa Treaty
Anti-land mine campaigners in Cambodia met with US Ambassador Carol Rodley this week, urging US authorities to sign on to a global treaty banning the weapons. Cambodia and 155 other countries have ratified the Ottawa Treaty, which came into effect this week in 1999, banning signatories from using or stockpiling land mines. The US is among the most prominent countries not to have signed. “We think it’s time that President Obama decided that standing outside the Ottawa Treaty agreed to by 156 nations is just out of date,” said Sister Denise Coghlan, country director of Jesuit Refugee Services and a member of the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines. If the US comes on board, Coghlan said, it could have a domino effect on other nations who also haven’t signed on to the treaty, including Russia, Pakistan, China and Israel. Coghlan said campaigners in other nations also planned to meet with US officials to press the issue. The ambassador, Coghlan said, was “very, very gracious” and promised to convey the message. Also present at the meeting was Tun Channareth, an amputee who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the ICBL in 1997. Cambodia ratified the land mine treaty in 1999. It has yet to sign on to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which will come into effect this year.

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