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Coordinated Effort To Rid Iraq Of Landmines Needed

Coordinated International Effort Needed To Clear Iraq Of Landmines – UN

The international community must pool its resources to help rid over 300 communities in southern Iraq of landmines and explosive ordnance that threaten their lives and livelihoods, a senior United Nations mine clearance official stressed today.

“This is a humanitarian issue and needs all concerned players to collaborate in dealing with it,” UN Development Programme (UNDP) Senior Mine Action Adviser Salomon Schreuder said of a new Iraqi Government report released today.

“Mine Action in Iraq will require the support of the international community with their human, financial and technical resources,” he added. “The aim of the survey is to determine the socio-economic impact of landmines and explosive ordnance on communities and categorize them as high, medium and low impacted. Then we can prioritize our mine clearance activities.”

On Monday, Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Representative for Humanitarian, Reconstruction and Development Affairs in Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, announced that nearly 500 square kilometres of land had already been cleared of landmines over the past year thanks to UN-backed efforts.

“Decades of wars and internal conflicts have left Iraq with a grave legacy,” Iraqi Deputy Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation Behnam Puttrus said today in Amman, Jordan, where he presented the provisional findings of the survey for Basrah, Al Samawah, Thi-Qar and Missan governorates.

“The well-being of the civilian population is threatened by denying access to valuable resources. Dangerous areas cannot be farmed, but safe land is potentially productive land. Agricultural production feeds not only people but also development. Furthermore, in many parts of the country contamination is hindering the safe return of internally displaced persons and refugees,” he added.

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