Iraq plans mine-clearing operation

BAGHDAD, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A clearing operation slated for mid-2008 will remove nearly 25 million unexploded land mines in some 4,000 minefields, the Iraqi environment minister said.


The Iraqi environment minister, Narmin Othman, said, "Iraq has about 25 percent of the world's unexploded land mines" left over from the Iran-Iraq war, the first Gulf War and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the United Nations' humanitarian news publication, IRIN, reported Monday.

The Iraqi government established a Mines Commission to assess the quantity and whereabouts of land mines, develop legislation regarding their use and develop contracts for companies experienced in mine removal, the minister said.

Security in the country prevented the implementation of many of the measures, Othman said, but beginning in August the ministry began working with international agencies to develop a strategy.

Othman said the Iraqi government plans to sign the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines at the end of February and expects the Environmental Ministry to outline a report detailing mine-clearance plans in the next six months.

Von:, 05.02.2008

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