Angola to Destroy Anti-Personnel Landmine Stocks
Angola has plans under way to destroy all its stock of anti-personnel land mines by 2007, fulfilling its commitment under the Ottawa Convention.
According to local media on Tuesday, the assurance was reiterated by the head of Angola's National Intersectional Commission on Demining and Humanitarian Assistance, Santana Andre Pitra, on opening a training course on the destruction of warehoused land mines.
He said the program, scheduled to last one year, had a budget of 1.7 million euros (about 2.1 million dollars), 85 percent of which financed by the European Union. He did not specify the quantity of Angola's stock of anti- personnel land mines.
Pitra said "this project is of extreme importance because, beyond permitting our fulfillment of one of the most important aspects of the Ottawa Convention, it will also allow the development of the technical, managerial and administrative capacities of the coordinating authority for action against land mines in Angola."
The UN Development Program's representative in Angola, Erik de Mull, told the 40 civilian and military course participants the destruction of anti-personnel land mine stocks would underscore Luanda's commitment to "complete the peace process" begun with the end of the civil war in April 2002.
The international community, de Mull said, was "making every effort" to help Angola rid itself of land mines. Experts estimate some 5 million land mines are scattered across Angola, following more than three decades of conflicts.
Official figures show that by the end of last year, land mine clearance operations had identified 79 different types of land mines, manufactured by 21 countries, in Angola.
By last December, clearance operations deactivated or destroyed 36,000 anti-personnel mines, 2,500 anti-tank mines and 1.3 million other explosive devices, according to official data.
Von: 24 August 2005, http://en1.chinabroadcast.cn