Tajikistan unaware of Uzbeks' border demining operation - official (TAJIKISTAN)
The [Tajik] Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not been given notification of the start of mine clearance work on the Uzbek-Tajik border, the head of the Tajik Foreign Ministry information department, Igor Sattorov, told Avesta.
"However, if mine clearance work has begun, Tajikistan can only welcome this process," the Tajik Foreign Ministry's spokesman said
Deputy Commander of the Uzbek border troops Rashid Habibov, who is attending a meeting in Dushanbe of the CIS council of the border troop commanders, said earlier today: "Uzbekistan has began mine clearance work on the Uzun section of the Uzbek-Tajik border in Surxondaryo Region [southern Uzbekistan]; and about 20 per cent of the territory has already been cleared of mines there."
According to data from the State Border Protection Committee, the length of the Tajik-Uzbek frontier is 1,440 km. Mines were planted unilaterally by the Uzbek side in 1999-2000.
According to data from the Tajik Mine Action Centre, 17 people have suffered from mine explosions in Tajikistan since the beginning of 2005, of whom 10 (four killed and six injured) on the Tajik-Uzbek border. Since the time the Tajik-Uzbek border was set up, about 150 Tajik citizens have fallen victim to mines explosions, of whom over 70 have been killed.
Von: 20 October 2005 (BBC)