Former MP calls for landmine removal (Egypt)

CAIRO: Former MP Esmat Anwar El-Sadat called for a popular campaign to remove landmines and develop the desert.


The campaign intends to assist the Ministry of International Cooperation in pressuring Britain, Germany and Italy, among others, to help remove the landmines their forces laid on Egyptian soil during the Battle of Alamein in World War II.

More than 60 years on, landmines litter Al-Alamein and have proven to be a total impediment to the development of large swathes of land along the North Coast between Al-Alamein and Marsa Matrouh.

There are still an estimated 20 million landmines on an area of 2 million feddans.

The Ministry of International Cooperation has been given the responsibility for removing the landmines from Al-Alamein, and as such has been attempting to bring the countries responsible for laying the landmines on board. Their assistance has not been forthcoming until now.

In a statement to the press El-Sadat said that the campaign would focus its efforts on international civil society to help lobby the countries concerned to assist in the landmine removal process.

The area containing the landmines is a prime spot for development due to the abundance of natural resources below the ground as well as the potential for tourist development along the shore, which exists on the coast right up until Al-Alamein.

When the land is cleared, El-Sadat urged the Egyptian government not to hand over the land to a select monopolistic group to profit from it, but rather to initiate a strategy where the area's development would reflect positively on the average citizen's standard of living.

Von:, By Abdel-Rahman Hussein 18.07.2008

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