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Country Reports
ARGENTINA, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Di Tella signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997. Argentina has not yet ratified the treaty. In November 1998 Argentina’s representative told the U.N. that the internal processes were underway and that ratification should occur shortly.[1] In January 1999, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that “the procedure for parliamentary approval is on course.”[2]

Argentina participated in all of the ban treaty preparatory meetings, endorsed the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration, and took part in the Oslo negotiations. Argentina also voted in favor of the pro-ban UN General Assembly resolutions in 1996, 1997 and 1998, as well as the pro-ban resolutions of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Argentina’s President Carlos Menem signed the Declaration of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) on 14 July 1998. The sixth article of the Declaration commits signatories to move toward declaring MERCOSUR countries as zones free of antipersonnel landmines and to work to enlarge this zone to include the entire Western Hemisphere.

Argentina is a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, and ratified amended Protocol II on landmines on 21 October 1998. Argentina is a member of the Conference on Disarmament and has supported efforts to address the problem of antipersonnel mines in that forum. Argentina was one of twenty-two CD members that in February 1999 jointly called for the appointment of a Special Coordinator on AP mines, and the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate an export ban.[3]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

Argentina is a former producer and exporter of antipersonnel mines. In the past, it manufactured three types of antipersonnel mines: the FMK-1 plastic blast mine, the MAPG pressure or trip-wire initiated mine, the MAPPG bounding mine.[4] Production took place at the Direccion General of Fabricaciones Militares (FM) of the Ministry of Defense.

On 27 March 1995, Argentina adopted a five-year moratorium on “the export, sale or transfer of all antipersonnel landmines without exception.”[5] There is little information on which countries Argentina exported AP mines to prior to the moratorium. However, according to press reports, several months before the moratorium was announced, Fabricaciones Militares of Argentina sold Croatia 5,750 antipersonnel and antitank mines.[6] This sale caused a scandal because the it was made during a UN weapons embargo against Croatia.

Based on mines found in the Falklands/Malvinas, it appears that Argentina has imported AP mines from Israel, Italy and Spain. The United Nations indicates that these antipersonnel mines were used: No. 4 (Israel), SB-33 (Italy), and PB4 (Spain).[7]

Details on the size and composition of Argentina’s stockpile of AP mines are not available.

Chile has acknowledged laying large numbers of mines on the Chile-Argentina border, but it is not known if Argentina has also used mines there. Argentina used mines during the Falklands/Malvinas War in 1982. The Foreign Ministry has said that the only part of Argentina that is mine affected is the Malvinas Islands.[8] (See separate report on Falklands/Malvinas).

Mine Clearance

In a November 1998 statement to a UN General Assembly session concerning mine action, Argentina vowed “to contribute to the solution of the problem caused by antipersonnel mines, through national, regional and global action.”[9] Argentina helps other countries clear landmines through planning, direction, supervision and advising.[10] Moreover, the Argentine Training Center for Peace Operations (CAECOPAZ) provides semi-annual courses on demining, and humanitarian assistance.


[1] “Intervention of the Delegation of Argentina on Item 42, Assistance for Demining,” UN General Assembly, New York, 17 November 1998.

[2] Telephone interview with Foreign Ministry spokesperson, 27 January 1999.

[3] Statement by Bulgarian Ambassador Petko Draganov to the Conference on Disarmament, undated but February 1999.

[4] U.S. Department of Defense, “Mine Facts” CD Rom.

[5] Executive Decree No. 435/95.

[6] See, Clarin ( Buenos Aires), 27-28 March 1995; Lawrence Whelan, “Latin arms shipped to Croatia,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 1 August 1996, p. 14. The government said that the final destinations of the weapons were supposed to be Panama and Venezuela, and it had been deceived by an intermediary company which had coordinated the operation. But federal justice authorities have ordered the arrest of former executives of the company, which is publicly-owned and the former Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers have been have been charged.

[7]See UN Country Database - www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/country/falkland.htm

[8] LM Researcher Correspondence with Foreign Ministry, 27 January 1999.

[9] “Intervencion de la Delegacion Argentina en el Tema 42: Asistencia para el Desminado,” Nueva York, 17 de Noviembre de 1998. Translated by LM Researcher.

[10] LM Researcher Correspondence with Foreign Ministry, 27 January 1999.