Friday, July 31, 1998 Published at 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
UK bans landmines
A landmine kills or maims someone every 20 minutes
The government has announced an immediate total ban on the use of landmines by British troops.
The announcement ends an exemption which would have allowed the use of landmines in "exceptional circumstances".
"We intend this to be an international example to others," Mr Robertson said.
Tribute to Diana
The move means the ban is in place in good time for the anniversary next month of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, who played a major role in the campaign to outlaw the weapons under the Ottawa convention..
Earlier on Friday, the defence secretary told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the UK would now use its "considerable authority" to persuade countries such as Russia and China to stop making the landmines.
The BBC's Defence Correspondent Mark Laity says in practice the move is mostly symbolic.
The government was said to be keen to impose a total ban before the anniversary of the princess's death in a month's time.
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