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Cablegate: Demining: Gop Requests Assistance From Diplomatic

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #3428/01 2901659
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171659Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7144
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1826
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5165
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7625
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3126
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0841
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ OCT 4573
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9339
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1511
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1534
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 003428

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PM/WRS, PM/RSAT, WHA/AND

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2017
TAGS: EC MARR MAS MCAP PE PGOV PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: DEMINING: GOP REQUESTS ASSISTANCE FROM DIPLOMATIC
COMMUNITY

REF: LIMA 2044

Classified By: CHARGE JAMES NEALON, FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)

1. (C) Summary: The Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
convoked more than 15 diplomatic missions on October 12 to
request international financial assistance to remove 29,000
anti-personal mines from Peru's border with Ecuador. GOP
officials outlined the history of demining operations in
Peru, underscored the close cooperation taking place with
Ecuador, and detailed the obstacles facing military engineers
working in the demining zone. The Peruvian Ministry of
Defense provided a detailed request for international
assistance for 2008, totaling USD 1.1 million. The meeting
left most observers convinced of the GOP's commitment to
clearing mines and its willingness to work with the
government of Ecuador to ensure the success of the program,
but some diplomats privately questioned the GOP's ability to
complete a long-term project that has run into difficulties
in the past. End Summary

-------------------
Demining Background
-------------------

2. (SBU) Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Gonzalo Gutierrez
and Vice Minister of Defense Fabian Novak chaired a meeting
of more than 15 diplomatic missions, including the OAS,
European Commission, and Embassy of Ecuador, on October 12 to
request financial assistance for Peruvian demining
operations. The GOP plans by 2019 to remove 29,000
anti-personal mines located in the province of Condorcanqui
(Amazonas department) in an area of approximately 22,000
square meters. The army of Peru placed the mines after its
brief 1995 conflict with Ecuador. Seventeen indigenous
communities in both Ecuador and Peru, with a total population
of 2,000 persons, live close to the hazardous zone. Although
statistics are incomplete, the GOP estimates that since 1999,
300 Peruvian soldiers and civilians have suffered injuries
from mines, with at least one fatality. Sixty Peruvian
soldiers, in the 116th and 111th Engineer Companies of the
Peruvian Army, currently perform the mine clearing.

------------------------
Cooperation with Ecuador
------------------------

3. (SBU) In 1998, Peru and Ecuador signed a peace treaty
ending the 1995 conflict, and in 2001 both governments signed
separate agreements with the OAS for coordinating
international support for demining; in 2006, the OAS combined
both programs under a single coordinator. Peru and Ecuador
began simultaneous demining in October 2006, and in July
2007, signed a protocol that created a bilateral medical
evacuation plan, established periodic exchanges of
information, allowed transfers of equipment between demining
teams, and authorized joint training.

4. (SBU) At the October 12 demining meeting, the OAS
permanent representative to Peru, Bertha Sajntoscoy, called
cooperation between the two governments "unprecedented."
Ecuadorian Ambassador Diego Ribadeneira said this cooperation
goes beyond efforts to remove mines and includes plans to
bring economic development, environmental protections, and
physical security to rural peoples often ignored by central
governments in the past. Vice Minister Gutierrez called the
demining program a litmus test for both governments to show
that democracies are capable of protecting and caring for
citizens on the social margins.

---------------------
Obstacles to Demining
---------------------

5. (SBU) MOD officials detailed the challenges facing
military engineers working in Condorcanqui, including
isolation -- the closest military base is a day's journey
away -- discarded ordinance left from the 1995 conflict,

faulty mine detectors, irregular terrain covered by thick
vegetation, and bad weather. The bad weather often restricts
demining operations to less than four hours of work per day,
because international norms require that helicopter Medevac
routes remain open while soldiers are in the field. The July
2007 agreement with Ecuador gave Peruvian troops access to
Ecuadorian trauma centers, reducing helicopter flight times
from 4 hours 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes, but heavy
rains and dense cloud cover frequently ground flights.

6. (SBU) The most pressing problem is funding. The EC
provided the GOP 500,000 euros to fund mine clearing from
March 2006 to June 2007. That money has been spent, and no
additional EC monies are available. The GOP needs 20 million
soles (approximately USD 7 million) to support mine clearing
through 2019, with 1.1 million required in 2008. The bulk of
that money will go for personnel costs (USD 440,000),
administration and supervision (USD 420,000), and logistical
support (USD 210,000). The remaining line items cover victim
assistance for residents of the area (USD 40,000) and
equipment costs (USD 20,000).

--------
Comment:
--------

7. (C) The GOP pulled out all the stops in underscoring its
commitment to demining, with Vice Minister Gutierrez,
Permanent Resident Sajntoscoy, and Ambassador Ribadeneira
reading from the same script in extolling Peruvian and
Ecuadorian cooperation. Still, questions remain. Only the
Embassy of Italy offered to help close the budget gap --
without offering specifics -- and some US observers noted
that previous Peruvian demining efforts had gone nowhere.
Nevertheless, Peru has succeeded in drawing closer to Ecuador
on a number of issues (see reftel), and senior GOP officials
have given demining top priority. We believe the issue
warrants renewed USG attention and are working with the
Political-Military Bureau to arrange a Humanitarian Demining
Assistance Team visit to Peru early December to assess the
GOP's commitment and requirements for its demining program.
End Comment.
NEALON

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