Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The White House Announcement Of Changes To U.S. Landmine Policy

MONTPELIER, Vt., June 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., President Pro Tempore, and chairman of the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee) has long been the leading U.S. official in the movement to ban anti-personnel landmines.  Leahy's earlier law banning U.S. export of mines was a catalyst leading to the international treaty to ban the use and production of anti-personnel landmines (Ottawa Treaty).  Leahy has continued to meet with successive presidents (Clinton, Bush and Obama) to press for U.S. entry into the treaty, which by now has been joined by 161 nations.  In March, Leahy began regular speeches on the Senate Floor, 'with an intended audience of one,' to publicly urge the President to join the treaty.  His most recent speech was Tuesday, June 24.  A feature story in the Boston Globe on Sunday focused on Leahy's decades of work on landmine issues.  Following are Leahy's comments Friday on the White House's policy changes on landmines:

"This step is incremental, but it is significant, because it finally makes official policy what has been informal fact for a decade and a half.  By officially ending the U.S. production and purchase of new antipersonnel mines, and resurrecting President Clinton's directive to the Pentagon to find alternative solutions, the White House once and for all has put the United States on a path to join the treaty.  An obvious next step is for the Pentagon to destroy its remaining stockpile of mines, which do not belong in the arsenal of civilized nations."  

SOURCE Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy



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