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NZ involvement in demining programme to continue

22 February 2000

NZ involvement in demining programme to continue

New Zealand has extended its commitment to a United Nations demining programme in Mozambique.

The extension was announced today by the Minister of Defence Mark Burton and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff.

"The commitment is for two New Zealand Defence Force personnel to continue working in Mozambique until the 31st January 2002," the Ministers said.
"New Zealand has been involved in the Mozambique demining operation since 1993 when we were asked by the UN to rescue a failing programme. Since July 1994 New Zealand has provided an Army Lieutenant-Colonel in the key position of Chief Technical Adviser, and a senior Non-Commissioned Officer.

"The efforts of the New Zealand personnel are recognised by the United Nations and in Mozambique as having been instrumental in turning the programme into one of the most successful demining operations sponsored by the UN.

"Well over 10,000 mines have been cleared by the Demining Programme. However, there is still much work to be done and the Mozambique Government has indicated it would like New Zealand to continue to fill two senior positions in the Demining Programme," the Ministers said.

Cabinet has also given the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defence delegated authority to approve minor adjustments and extensions to New Zealand's peacekeeping and demining operations.

As well as East Timor and Mozambique, New Zealand Defence Force personnel are currently deployed in Bougainville, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights and South Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Kuwait, Laos and Cambodia.

ENDS

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