WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A review of U.S. land mine policy has not produced changes needed to join an international effort to ban the weapons, a State Department spokesman says.
Ian Kelly told reporters Tuesday that the Obama administration examined the U.S. policy on land mines and that they will remain in place, CNN reported.
"This administration undertook a policy review and we decided our land mine policy remains in effect," Kelly said. "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."
The decision disappointed and surprised pro-land mine ban advocates, who said they had believed President Barack Obama backed their cause.
"It is a disturbing development," Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch told CNN. "The administration never said a policy review was under way. The international treaty against land mines has made a a huge difference and it is a very strong deterrent. It has to have been a very fast and cursory review."
Goose noted that the United States is the only member of NATO that will not sign the land mine treaty next week in Cartagena, Colombia.