Australia to assist with Cambodia demining (Cambodia)

The Australian Government has committed $US9.7 million to assist with clearing landmines in Cambodia.


The donation marks International Mine Action Day, and will be spread out over the coming for years.

Canberra says the funds will help clear explosives from millions of square kilometres of Cambodian territory.

The United Nations says millions of Cambodians live in areas affected by landmines, and that a third of all victims are children.

"In Cambodia in particular there are tens of thousands of rural poor who are victims and particularly young children," said Australia's parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, Greg Hunt.

Radio Australia's Emily Bourke reports that Australia has committed more than $US40 million to landmine clearance and victim recovery in Cambodia since 1996.

Australia to join in talks to phase out cluster bombs

Canberra has also committed for the first time to joining international talks aimed at phasing out the use of controversial cluster bombs.

Humanitarian groups say cluster bombs, which scatter tiny explosives across vast areas, are to blame for many civilian casualties in conflicts around the world.

Australia is joining a group of countries seeking to develop a legally binding treaty to ban or restrict the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs.

Two of the countries which use cluster bombs are the United States and Israel, but Mr Hunt says Australia must decide on the issue independently.

"We respect the views of our allies (but) we make our own decisions," he said.

Thomas Nash, of the Global Cluster Munition Coalition - an alliance of 200 international NGOs - has welcomed Australia's decision to join the talks.

Von: 04.04.2007

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