25 years ago tomorrow, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction opened for signature in Ottawa, Canada. The indiscriminate and enduring threat posed by these weapons—especially to civilians, including children— has led more than 160 countries around the world to accede to the Ottawa Convention, and the Biden-Harris Administration to align U.S. policy with its key provisions outside of the Korean Peninsula.
President Biden’s commitment to reduce the impact of these weapons is being backed by action. We are reducing our reliance on anti-personnel landmines by directing excess weapons be removed from our inventories and positioned for demilitarization in accordance with verifiable timelines. We are pursuing materiel and operational alternatives to these weapons, while ensuring our ability to meet our alliance commitments and respond to contingencies. And we continue to lead the world in eliminating the lasting impact of these weapons, contributing over $4.7 billion in aid over the last two and a half decades in more than 100 countries for the safe clearance and destruction of landmines, explosive weapons, and conventional weapons.
This progress would not have been possible without the leadership and tireless efforts of Senator Patrick Leahy. Since his founding of the Leahy War Victims Fund in 1989, Senator Leahy has bettered the lives of countless people around the globe who have been impacted by the explosive remnants of war. Through his tireless advocacy and moral clarity, he has helped us all envision a world free from the scourge of these weapons. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to continuing work toward this future.