Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 19 October 2015


The Arab Republic of Egypt has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. Egypt has often stated its reasons for opposing the treaty, including that antipersonnel landmines are seen as a key means for securing its borders and that responsibility for clearance is not assigned in the treaty to those who laid the mines in the past.[1] In December 2014, Egypt objected to the “particularly imbalanced nature of that instrument, which was developed and concluded outside the framework of the United Nations.”[2] It abstained on pro-mine ban UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 69/34 on 3 December 2015, as in all previous years.

Egypt participated as an observer in the Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference of States Parties in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014, but did not make any statement. Egypt did not attend the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2015.

Egypt signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in 1981 but never ratified it.


Military authorities stated to an Egyptian newspaper that they had begun to lay landmines around military outposts in the Sinai in May 2015, which resulted in the reported deaths of two militants.[3] By October 2015, Egypt had not responded to a letter sent by the ICBL in June requesting clarification on the report.

Militants linked with the Islamic State claimed to have emplaced mines on the perimeter of a police station during a May 2015 attack in the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid.[4]

In July 2012, a retired military engineer, General Mohamed Khater, who was formerly in charge of mine clearance in the engineering corps, reportedly stated that the Egyptian Armed Forces laid a minefield in 2011 on the country’s border with Libya, presumably when forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi lost control of the border to anti-Gaddafi resistance fighters. The Monitor has not been able to verify this claim.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Egypt has stated that it stopped production of antipersonnel mines in 1988 and stopped exports in 1984.[5] In December 2004, Egypt’s Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister stated that “the Egyptian government has imposed a moratorium on all export and production activities related to anti-personnel mines.”[6] This was the first time that Egypt publicly and officially announced a moratorium on production.[7] The Monitor is not aware of any official decrees or laws to implement permanent prohibitions on production or export of antipersonnel mines. In December 2012, Egypt said that it “imposed a moratorium on its capacity to produce and export landmines in 1980.”[8]

Egypt is believed to have a large stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but no details are available on the size and composition of the stockpile, as it is considered a state secret.

[1] Egypt explained its abstention in voting on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 65/48 in December 2010 as, “Egypt views this convention as lacking balance between the humanitarian consideration related to APLM [antipersonnel landmine] and their legitimate military use for border protection. Most importantly, the convention does not acknowledge the legal responsibility of States for demining APLM they themselves have laid, in particular in territories of other States, making it almost impossible for affected States to meet alone the Convention’s demining requirements…The mentioned weaknesses are only complemented by the weak international cooperation system of the Convention which remains limited in its effect and much dependent on the will of donor States. The mentioned weaknesses of Ottawa convention have kept the largest world producers and some of the world’s most heavily affected States outside its regime, making the potential for its universality questionable and reminding us all of the value of concluding arms-control and disarmament agreements in the context of United Nations and not outside its framework.” Statement of Egypt, “Explanation of Vote on Resolution on the Ottawa APLM Convention, L.8,” UNGA First Committee, New York, 27 October 2010.

[2] Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.5, 69th Session, UNGA First Committee, New York, 3 November 2014, UNGA, Official Records, A/C.1/69/PV.23, p. 17/23.

[4] Erin Cunningham and Loveday Morris, “Militants launch major assault in Egypt’s Sinai,” Washington Post, 1 July 2015.

[5] Statement of Egypt, Mine Ban Treaty Seventh Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 22 September 2006; and statement of Egypt, “Explanation of Vote on Resolution on the Ottawa APLM Convention, L.8,” UNGA First Committee, New York, 27 October 2010.

[6] Statement of Egypt, Mine Ban Treaty First Review Conference, Nairobi, 2 December 2004.

[7] Egypt told a UN assessment mission in February 2000 that it ceased export of antipersonnel mines in 1984 and ended production in 1988, and several Egyptian officials over the years also told the Monitor informally that production and trade had stopped. However, Egypt has not responded to repeated requests by the Monitor to make that position formal and public in writing. The Monitor has therefore kept Egypt on its list of producers. Egypt reportedly produced two types of low metal content blast antipersonnel mines, several variations of bounding fragmentation mines, and a Claymore-type mine. There is no publicly available evidence that Egypt has produced or exported antipersonnel mines in recent years. See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 957.

[8] Statement of Egypt, “Explanation of Vote on Resolution on the Ottawa APLM Convention, L.8,” UNGA First Committee, New York, 2 December 2012.