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HRW calls Obama to action on mine treaty

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Washington needs to take a firm position on its stance regarding landmines and sign international protocols banning their use, Human Rights Watch said.

U.S. officials are expected to attend a summit on banning anti-personnel mines scheduled to begin Saturday in Cartagena, Colombia.

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U.S. President Bill Clinton stated his willingness to participate in the treaty, though U.S. President George W. Bush reversed course in 2004. Washington has not deployed or exported anti-personnel mines since the Mine Ban Treaty was indoctrinated in 1997, however.

"It's time for the U.S. to turn its landmine practice into policy," said Steve Goose, Arms Division director at Human Rights Watch.

U.S. President Barack Obama has not made a formal policy statement on the Mine Ban Treaty, Human Rights Watch said, but Washington said it would send representation to the review conference in Colombia.

"Engaging with its allies under the framework of the Mine Ban Treaty is a positive step, but the U.S. should not arrive empty-handed in Cartagena," Goose said.

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