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Table of Contents
Country Reports
OMAN, Landmine Monitor Report 2005

Oman

Key developments since May 2004: In March 2005, officials told the UN Mine Action Service that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approved Oman’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty, but the Ministry of Defense does not want to move forward without a common position among Gulf Cooperation Council member states.

Mine Ban Policy

The Sultanate of Oman has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In March 2005, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) undertook an advocacy mission to Muscat. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials told UNMAS that since Oman has no border problems with any neighbors, it has no need for landmines. They stated that the Foreign Ministry has given written political clearance to the Ministry of Defense to proceed with accession to the Mine Ban Treaty.[1] A Ministry of Defense official told UNMAS that, while Oman is supportive of the Mine Ban Treaty in every way, it “could not differ” with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.[2] Both the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry stressed the desirability of a common GCC position.[3] Of the six GCC member states, only Qatar has joined the Mine Ban Treaty.[4]

On 3 December 2004, Oman voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 59/84, calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. Oman has voted in favor of every annual pro-ban UNGA resolution since 1996.

Oman participated as an observer in the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Nairobi in November-December 2004.[5] While it attended the treaty’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2004, it was absent from the meetings in June 2005.[6]

Oman has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines, but it has imported and used them in the past. In February 2001, the Ministry of Defense stated that it has only a limited number of stockpiled mines for training purposes.[7] At one point, the United States stockpiled at least 6,248 antipersonnel mines at its airbases in Oman, but the status of these stocks is not known following combat operations in Iraq. According to Foreign Ministry officials, there are no mines currently stored in the US facility in Oman.[8]

Oman is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II. Oman attended the Sixth Annual Meeting of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in November 2004, as an observer.

Landmine/UXO Problem and Mine Action

The mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem in Oman is a legacy of a 1964-1975 internal conflict, in which a variety of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines were used.[9] The majority of mines and UXO are located in the Dhofar region of southern Oman and in two mined zones along the border with Yemen.[10] The Royal Army of Oman has mapped seven zones of suspected mined areas based on historical records of battlefield areas, unit positions and landmine incident reports.[11]

Omani military personnel carried out humanitarian demining operations in the Dhofar region in 2001 and 2002 using mine detecting dog teams. They cleared 1,500 square meters of land.[12] From 1999-2002, the United States provided more than US$2.8 million in mine action assistance to Oman, which was used to provide demining training to 75 soldiers, establish a mine detecting dog program, develop a landmine survey and information management capability, and provide equipment such as personal protective gear and mine disposal technologies.[13] The US stopped its mine action funding in 2003, after Oman declared that its mined areas were marked and civilians were no longer in danger, that mines had a low impact on the economy, and that no casualties due to related mine incidents had been reported in the last year.[14]

Landmine Monitor is not aware of any mine clearance or mine risk education activities in Oman since 2002.

Since it started reporting in 1999, Landmine Monitor has not recorded any mine casualties in Oman. In 2001, it was reported that mines and UXO had killed at least 12 people and injured 84 others since the end of the Dhofar conflict in 1975.[15] The government provides medical assistance and rehabilitation for mine and UXO survivors through the Armed Forces and other state authorities.[16]


[1] Amb. Satnam Singh, UNMAS consultant, “Mission Report – Oman, 26-27 March 2005,” 31 March 2005. The remarks were made in a meeting with Under Secretary Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi and Amb. Taleb Meeran Al Raisi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Muscat.

[2] Amb. Satnam Singh, UNMAS consultant, “Mission Report – Oman, 26-27 March 2005,” 31 March 2005. The remarks were made in a meeting with Under Secretary Mohammed bin Nasser Al Rasbi, Ministry of Defense, in Muscat. In January 2004, the Ministry of Defense presented a study of the issues surrounding accession to the Mine Ban Treaty to the national parliament. Interview with Amb. Taleb Meeran Al Raisi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 January 2004.

[3] Oman has expressed this view previously. Statement by Omani representative to the Seminar on Military and Humanitarian Issues Surrounding the Mine Ban Treaty, Amman, Jordan, 19-21 April 2004. There has been a lack of clarity about whether the GCC has a formal resolution asking member states not to join the Mine Ban Treaty. Amb. Singh was told by GCC headquarters that there is no such formal position, and each country has the sovereign right to decide for itself. Amb. Satnam Singh, UNMAS consultant, “Mission Report – Oman, 26-27 March 2005,” 31 March 2005.

[4] The other GCC states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

[5] Oman is not included in the official list of participants and does not appear with the 20 other non-States Parties identified in the Final Report of the Conference. However, Oman did send a delegation from Muscat, led by Amb. Taleb Meeran Al Raisi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email from Amb. Satnam Singh, ICBL Diplomatic Advisor, 7 September 2005.

[6] Oman attended the annual Meetings of States Parties in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and intersessional meetings in May 2002.

[7] Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire from the Ministry of Defense, 27 February 2001.

[8] Amb. Satnam Singh, UNMAS consultant, “Mission Report – Oman, 26-27 March 2005,” 31 March 2005. The remarks were made in a meeting with Under Secretary Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi and Amb. Taleb Meeran Al Raisi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Muscat.

[9] Steve Soucek and Darrell Strother, “Humanitarian Demining in Sultanate of Oman,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 5.3, Fall 2001, p. 49.

[10] The two mined zones abut the Al-Mahra governorate in the easternmost part of Yemen, according to the Landmine Impact Survey on Yemen, 2000: “Landmines in Al-Mahra have been laid around former military positions during the 1973-1984 conflict.”

[11] Steve Soucek and Darrell Strother, “Humanitarian Demining in Sultanate of Oman,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 5.3, Fall 2001, p. 49.

[12] US Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, “To Walk the Earth in Safety: The United States Commitment to Humanitarian Demining,” September 2002.

[13] US Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” September 2002. See also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1084.

[14] Telephone interview with Matthew Murphy, Program Manager, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, US Department of State, 15 August 2005.

[15] US Department of State, “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” November 2001, p. 44.

[16] Ministry of Defense Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire, 27 February 2001.