Ottawa Convention signatories informed of antimine activity in Croatia (CROATIA)
Several dozen participants in a meeting of states parties to the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction visited Suhovare to see the activity of the Croatian Mine Action Centre (HCR) on several locations.
The visit to the Zadar hinterland off the central Adriatic coast was organised ahead of the sixth meeting of the Ottawa Convention in Zagreb from November 28 to December 2.
HRC president Otto Jungwirth informed the delegations there were 1,100 square kilometres of areas suspected to be planted with mines in Croatia, of which 85 square kilometres in Zadar County, including 6.5 square kilometres in Suhovare.
Jungwirth said the HRC had been demining since 1998 and that EUR 250 million had been spent for that purpose to date. Fifty-six per cent of the funds came from the national budget, while donations accounted for 10 per cent. He added that 205 square metres of suspicious areas had been demined with that money.
Jungwirth went on to say that 97 persons were killed and 170 were wounded by mines since 1998.
Responding to questions from the press, he said the Ottawa Convention set deadlines by which signatories must close the landmine issue. He added Croatia destroyed all landmine warehouses in 2002.
Croatia has undertaken the obligation to eliminate all mines it is aware of by 2009, Jungworth said, but added more time would be needed because of areas which were not known to still be mine-infested.
The meeting like the upcoming one in Zagreb will be an opportunity to talk about further donations to Croatia, he said, adding that when Croatia would be fully free of mines would depend on the money.
Von: 26 November 2005 (Hina)