Army destroys its last mines

THE ARMY'S use of anti-personnel landmines has been consigned to history, George Robertson, the Secretary of State for Defence, said yesterday.

Describing them as "obscene weapons", Mr Robertson announced that the last of two million mines held by the army as recently as two-and-a-half years ago had been destroyed. He also committed himself to continuing to work towards a worldwide ban. "The British Army no longer possesses any anti-personnel landmine capability. No British soldier will ever again lay an anti-personnel landmine," he said. "It is a very proud moment for me to be able to use those words."

The announcement came just days before the 1997 Ottawa Convention comes into force on 1 March. Britain was one of the first 40 signatories to the treaty, which commits them to destroying all stockpiles of mines within the next four years.

At a ceremony at the Ministry of Defence in London yesterday, Mr Robertson presented four of the deactivated mines to organisations that had campaigned for their abolition.

The mounted C3 Elsie mines were received by representatives of the British Red Cross, the Mines Advisory Group, the Halo Trust and Care International. "These represent a typical anti-personnel mine in that they are simple, cheap and easily placed by hand," Mr Robertson said. "Those before you today hold particular significance as they were taken from the very last batch of mines to be destroyed by the British Army." Another deactivated mine was donated to the Imperial War Museum. This, said Mr Robertson, was to stress that the mines were part of history: "They no longer represent anything of the present or future of British military capability."

Britain had previously pledged to destroy all MoD stocks by 1 January 2000. The Royal Air Force still holds the JP233 weapons system, which can drop thousands of tiny bomblets or mines and which is also subject to the convention. These, too, will be destroyed by the end of this year, Mr Robertson said.

"I hope the accelerated destruction of British Army mines will send another clear and concrete message to those nations who have not yet signed the Ottawa Treaty. The legacy of anti-personnel mines is a modern plague," he said.

Thomas Sutcliffe, page 11

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test