Sunday, December 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

US plans to curb land mines, join global treaty

By
From page A10 | June 28, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — After two decades of waffling, the United States on Friday announced its intention to join an international treaty banning land mines, without setting a time frame while working through possible complications on the Korean Peninsula.

Human rights advocates applauded the progress, but said the Obama administration should immediately commit to a ban and begin destroying its stockpile, while Republicans accused the president of disregarding military leaders who wanted to maintain land mines in the U.S. arsenal.

The 15-year-old Ottawa Convention includes 161 nations that have signed on to prohibit the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. President Bill Clinton had a goal of joining the treaty, but the Bush administration pulled back amid objections from military leaders. Obama ordered up a review of the U.S. policy when he came to office five years ago, and a U.S. delegation announced the change in position Friday to a land mine conference in Maputo, Mozambique.

“We’re signaling our clear aspiration to eventually accede to the Ottawa Convention,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters travelling with the president Friday.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the United States has no land mines currently deployed around the globe but maintains an active stockpile of just over 3 million. “They are all in inventory and that’s where they will stay,” Kirby said. He added that the stockpile will begin to expire in about 10 years and be completely unusable in about 20 years.

Land mines being used in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea are administered by South Korea, but the U.S. administers a stockpile in South Korea in case of an invasion from the North.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula presents unique challenges, for which we are diligently pursing solutions that would be compliant with the Ottawa Convention,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

Physicians for Human Rights director of programs Widney Brown said the U.S. announcement is “a step in the right direction, but we remain concerned about anything less than a full commitment to sign the Mine Ban Treaty as soon as possible.”

“The U.S. government has been missing a key opportunity to lead on a groundbreaking agreement that has achieved great success in preventing deaths of innocent victims, including many children,” she said.

Steve Goose, head of delegation for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, said the U.S. should at least set a target date to join the treaty, immediately pledge not to use land mines and begin destruction of its stockpiles.

“While they are saying they are working toward banning them in the future, they are leaving open the option of continuing to use them in the meantime, which is kind of a contradictory way to approach things,” Goose said in a telephone interview from the Mozambique conference. “They’re bad enough to ban them, but we still want to use them.”

The administration’s announcement also was also criticized by the top Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, who cited recent testimony by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that land mines are an “important tool in the arsenal of the armed forces of the United States.”

“The president owes our military an explanation for ignoring their advice and putting them at risk, all for a Friday morning press release,” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of California.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said: “The president’s land mine policy seriously weakens the United States at a time when threats to the nation are on the rise.”

Kirby said he would not speak for Dempsey specifically, but that senior civilian and military leadership at the Pentagon had a “robust discussion” on the policy and fully support the administration’s announcement.

The U.S. has given more than $2.3 billion in the past two decades to more than 90 countries to remove minesand other conventional weapons and to aid victims. The Obama administration also in 2010 stopped the use of “persistent” or “dumb” mines that do not disarm and can remain a danger to unsuspecting locals for years.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has been pushing Obama to sign onto the treaty in a series of speeches from the Senate floor since March, including one Tuesday in which he spoke next to a large picture of a Vietnamese girl who lost her legs in a mine accident. He said the U.S. announcement is incremental but significant, and he will push Obama to sign the treaty before he leaves office.

“The White House once and for all has put the United States on a path to join the treaty,” he said. “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.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

The Salvation Army serves 1,000-plus across 2 days

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Blue Christmas service offers reflection, hope

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

Shining bright for all to see: Locals deck out yards, homes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Time for annual Solano County quiz

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

Bevy of holiday activities at Western Railway Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
State Fair scholarship applications available

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Get tested, know your status

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: C4

 
Free New Year’s celebration slated

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
 
New development fees start Jan. 1 in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

A word of warning for Senator Warren

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 6 Comments

 
New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Sky-high price has VA rationing hep C drug

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
AP sources: Cops’ killer angry at chokehold death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

 
Officials: Missing dog was dyed to deceive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Immigrants build document trails to remain in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California officer kills teen after machete attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
4 teens die in fiery head-on crash in Pennsylvania

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Burying the dead after Pakistan’s school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
A chance to breach divide for young in Cuba and US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
New school finance strategy lacks accountability

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Season’s greetings from the Obamas

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Sound off for Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

Why celebrate Christmas?

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3, 2 Comments

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Review: ‘Five’ by Ursula Archer is intriguing

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Publisher hopes to sell books through Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Chris Colfer has multi-book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sustained by brief blaze of glory

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

New Giants 3B McGehee eager to play back home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Interim coaching jobs present challenges in bowls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
No. 11 Lady Vols trounce No. 7 Stanford 59-40

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Raiders place cornerback Brown on injured reserve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Big moves bring big hope for Chicago baseball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US skier Nyman wins Gardena downhill for 3rd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Vonn wins women’s World Cup downhill in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: 4 ways to hold on to your cash when renting a car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Japan town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Jean Bidstrup Braker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Perry Michael Smetts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Luzdivina B. Banks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Arnold Howard Evans

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Anthony Hanson Elder

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics