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World: Draft Landmine Agreement Approved

Oslo, 17 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Delegates to multinational talks on banning landmines today in Oslo approved a draft agreement after the U.S. said it failed in its bid to attach exemptions to the document.

Approval followed an announcement by U.S. delegation chief Eric Newsom that his delegation was not able to find support for its position that landmines be permitted on the Korean peninsula for nine years and that certain types of mines be exempt from the ban. It is not known if the U.S. will sign the draft agreement when delegates reconvene tomorrow morning.

Yesterday, the U.S. delegation requested a 24-hour delay in the talks to win support for its position. Critics of the U.S. proposals have said any exemption to the treaty would undermine the purpose of the conference, which is an immmediate and total landmine ban.

Representatives from some 100 countries are attending the talks.

The final treaty is expected to be signed in Canada later this year.