British Defense Secretary George Robertson said he hoped the move by what he called "the most professional army in the world" would put pressure on countries still producing and using land mines. He also called for a concerted effort to have other countries adhere to the Ottawa Process, a Canadian initiative that aims to ban the manufacture and use of land mines worldwide.
The United States has refused to sign on to the treaty, demanding an exemption for the use of mines along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, which is patrolled by American troops.
Land mines kill and maim an estimated 25,000 people each year, most of them women and children. Even senior military figures in the Pentagon have said mines have little strategic value, compared to the damage they inflict on civilians.
By Allen Pizzey