Shameful US policy

Jody Williams; 3/12/09

Last week, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly revealed that President Barack Obama would follow in President George W. Bush’s footsteps and not sign the international Mine Ban Treaty. Many of us had hoped he would embrace president Bill Clinton’s pledge that the US would join. The 1997 treaty was a landmark accomplishment. For the first time, a group of governments and civil institutions joined together to ban a conventional weapon that had been used by virtually every fighting force for decades. Today, 156 nations are party to the treaty — including Afghanistan, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, all of Europe except Finland (Poland has signed but not yet ratified), all of sub-Saharan Africa, except Somalia, almost half of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (including Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Algeria) and the entire Western hemisphere, except the US and Cuba