WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The United States' security commitments will not allow it join an international effort to a ban land mines, the State Department said.
"This administration undertook a policy review and we decided our land mine policy remains in effect," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters Tuesday. "We made our policy review and we determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign this convention."
Steve Goose with the Human Rights Watch in New York said: "The administration never said a policy review was under way," CNN reported.
Goose said an international treaty against land mines has become a strong deterrent and America's decision to leave its policy unchanged would go against the administration's commitments to humanitarian issues, the report said.
Russia and China also have not joined the ban, which has been endorsed by 156 countries, HRW said.
Kelly said the United States continues to work with governments and non-governmental organizations on land mine clearance, noting that Washington has provided more than $1.5 billion for that purpose since 1993.