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For Immediate Release
March 2, 2004

Global Message

From the Department of Defense

President Bush has announced a new U.S. policy on landmines, which will help reduce humanitarian risk and save the lives of U.S. military personnel and civilians.

The United States is one of the world's strongest supporters of humanitarian action regarding landmines. The United States was one of the first countries to support humanitarian demining efforts in 1988, when it funded the first such programs in Afghanistan.

The United States is committed to eliminating persistent landmines -- which remain lethal indefinitely -- of all types from its arsenal.

The United States will seek a worldwide ban on the sale or export of all persistent landmines. The ban will help prevent the spread of technology that kills and maims civilians.

The United States will continue to develop non-persistent anti-personnel and anti-vehicle landmines. These mines self-destruct or self-deactivate. After they are no longer needed on the battlefield, non-persistent landmines detonate or turn themselves off.

These landmines have been rigorously tested and have never failed to destroy themselves or become inert within a set time.

Persistent anti-personnel landmines are only stockpiled for use by the United States to fulfill treaty obligations with the Republic of Korea. Within two years, the United States will begin destroying persistent landmines that aren't needed for the protection of Korea.

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