I am strongly in favor of having the United States sign and ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Land mines are a horrible legacy that has been left in war torn regions. They punish innocent civilians years after war has ended. Despite heightened awareness combined with the best efforts of local governments and the international community, 2000 deaths and casualties due to land mines still occur each month. The United Nations estimates up to 120 million mines remain buried, at a clearance cost of $30 billion dollars.
I am disappointed that the United States has not joined most of the world community as a signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty. However, I will continue to urge the Bush Administration to sign and comply with this treaty. In addition, it is critical that the United States continue to provide funding for land mine removal.