Washington, Nov 25: Citing defence issues, US has declined to join the global treaty banning landmines as the treaty could hinder its security commitments.
In a first public disclosure of the decision, spokesman Ian Kelly said that US has decided to stick with its land mine policy after undertaking a policy review, adding that US will send observers to the gathering of states that have accepted the treaty on Sunday, Nov 22.
"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 signed this convention," he said.
Steve Goose, director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch said that though US will not be part of the treaty, US has been following the provisions of the treaty by refraining from using antipersonnel mines since the 1991 Gulf War and has not exported any since 1992 and has not produced them since 1997.
However, US refusal to be part of the treaty has drawn criticism with some calling it a default of US leadership.
"It is a lost opportunity for the United States to show leadership instead of joining with China and Russia and impeding progress," said US Senator Patrick Leahy.