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Country Reports
GREECE, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Greece signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997, at which time the Greek Embassy in Ottawa pledged that “ratification of this Convention will take place as soon as conditions relating to the implementation of its relevant provisions are fulfilled.”[1] This declaration on ratification has been filed with the United Nations Secretariat in New York. Greece has not yet ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.

Greece attended the treaty preparatory meetings and the Oslo negotiations, but as an observer in each case. Greece did not endorse the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997. Greece did not cast a vote on the 1996 United Nations General Assembly resolution supporting a landmine ban, but voted in favor of resolutions supporting the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997 and 1998.

Greece has in the past expressed concern over the rapidity of the Ottawa process and has supported the Conference on Disarmament as the best forum for negotiating a universal landmine ban.[2] In February 1999, Greece was one of 22 countries that endorsed a statement advocating the negotiation of a ban on transfers of antipersonnel landmines through the CD.[3]

Greece is a state party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, but it has not ratified the amended 1996 Protocol II on mines.

Production, Transfer, and Stockpiling

Greece is known to have produced and exported at least one type of antipersonnel landmine, a copy of the U.S. M16A2.[4] Greece has imported 57,034 antipersonnel mines from the United States, including 18,144 ADAM artillery-delivered, self-destructing mines for $2.56 million in 1988, and more than 30,000 M16 mines, 5,500 M14 mines, and M18A1 Claymore mines from 1973-1981.[5] There is no information on other AP mines suppliers to Greece. There is no definitive information on the current size of Greece’s stockpile of antipersonnel mines.[6]

The Greek government has asserted that landmine production in Greece has ceased, and in 1994 declared a comprehensive, indefinite moratorium on antipersonnel landmine exports.[7]

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Mines are not considered to pose a danger to civilians in Greece. However, Turks attempting to cross illegally into Greece have been injured and killed in minefields near the Evros River, which marks the border between Greece and Turkey.[8] Landmines dating from the Greek civil war (1947-1949) are also present along the northern border. The Greek government announced in 1998 an initiative to rid the forested northern border area of mines and transform it into a tourist destination.[9] Greece has “adequate” mine removal and destruction capabilities.[10]

Greece has donated $80,000 to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance and has participated in UN demining and victim rehabilitation efforts in mine affected countries.[11] As part of a 1998 military cooperation pact, Greece pledged to assist Zimbabwe with mine clearance.[12]


[1]Declaration of Embassy of the Hellenic Republic, Treaty Signing Ceremony, Ottawa, 3 December 1997.

[2]Country Profiles, United Nations Demining Database, http:www.un.org.Depts/Landmine/ (Ref. 3/8/99).

[3]Statement by Ambassador Petko Draganov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United Nations Office and the other International Organisations in Geneva, (undated) February 1999.

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

[5] U.S. Army, Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command (USAMCCOM), Letter to Human Rights Watch, 25 August 1993, and attached statistical tables; U.S. Defense Security Assistance Agency, U.S. Landmine Sales By Country, March 1994.

[6] A Greek journalist cited a figure of 1.5 million at a Medicins du Monde press conference in Athens, 18 September 1997, according to an email from Tim Carstairs, Mines Advisory Group (UK), 23 March 1999.

[7]Country Profiles, United Nations Demining Database.

[8] Ibid.

[9]"Civil War Minefield to be Cleared,” Athens News Agency Daily Bulletin, 14 January 1998.

[10]U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Problem with Uncleared Landmines, July 1993, p. 95.

[11]U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis, September 1998, pp. C-1, C-3.

[12]"Greece, Zimbabwe Sign Military Cooperation Accords,” Xinhua News Agency Bulletin, 2 July 1998.