Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 October 2017


The Arab Republic of Egypt has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Egypt has regularly stated its reasons for opposing the treaty, reiterating 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 October 2016, Egypt said it, “views the Convention as lacking balance between the humanitarian concerns relating to the production and use of anti-personnel landmines and their legitimate military use in border protection, particularly in countries with long borders and which face extraordinary security challenges. Furthermore, the Convention does not impose any legal responsibility on a State to remove anti-personnel mines they have placed in the territory of others, making it almost impossible for any State to meet the demining requirement on its own.”[2] It abstained on pro-mine ban UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 71/34 on 5 December 2016, as it has in all previous years.

Egypt participated as an observer at the Third Review Conference in Maputo and Meetings of States Parties in 2013, 2012, and 2010. It did not participate in any meetings of the convention in 2016 or early 2017.

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


No new use of antipersonnel mines could be confirmed by the Monitor in 2017. Previously, military authorities had stated to an Egyptian newspaper that they had begun to lay landmines around military outposts in Sinai in May 2015, which resulted in the reported deaths of two militants.[3] Egypt did not respond to a letter sent by the ICBL in June 2015 requesting clarification on the report.

Militants linked with Islamic State (IS) 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] State officials have claimed that IS is manufacturing munitions from explosives recovered from mines in uncleared minefields in Egypt.[5] In April 2017, the Ministry of Defense reported that it had uncovered a small cache of Iranian-made mines.[6]

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.[7] 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.”[8] This was the first time that Egypt publicly and officially announced a moratorium on production.[9] 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.”[10]

However, in February 2017, the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production advertised Heliopolis plastic antipersonnel landmines for sale at its display at IDEX in Abu Dhabi.[11] Egyptian authorities did not respond to a June 2017 request by a Monitor researcher for further information regarding the apparent change in policy on export, and possibly production, indicated by the IDEX sales brochure.

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] In October 2016, Egypt reiterated its view that it abstains from the vote, “due to the unbalanced nature of this instrument, which was developed and concluded outside the framework of the United Nations.” Explanation of Vote on UNGA Draft Resolution L.7/Rev.1., Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, General Assembly, Official Records, 71st  Session: First Committee, 24th Meeting, New York, 31 October 2016, A/C.1/71/PV.24, pp. 24/35. See also previous Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.50 70th Session, UNGA First Committee, New York, 4 November 2015, A/C.1/70/PV.24; and Resolution L.5, 69th Session, UNGA First Committee, New York, 3 November 2014, UNGA, Official Records, A/C.1/69/PV.23, pp. 17/23.

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

[6]كيف وصلت أسلحة إيران لخلايا الإخوان الإرهابية بمصر؟,” Al Arabia, 17 April 2017. Photograph shows what appears to be an Iranian No. 4 antipersonnel blast mine. This type has been previously found in Sudan, but Egyptian authorities allege it was smuggled from Gaza.

[7] 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.

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

[9] 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.

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

[11] Brochure, Heliopolis Co. for Chemical Industries, National Organization for Military Production, Ministry of Military Production, Arab Republic of Egypt, p. 23. AP T78 and AP T79 plastic antipersonnel landmines. Received from Omega Research via Twitter, 3 March 2017.