Falkland Islands Councillors have made a formal request to UK authorities for what a spokesperson described as, full and proper representation of the Falkland Islands view, in the proposed working party on de-mining in the Falklands.
As was announced recently and reported in Penguin News, attempts are planned to begin shortly to clear three minefields in the Falklands, at Sappers' Hill, Goose Green and Fox Bay. It was decided at last week's General Purposes Committee of Legislative Council that Falkland Islands interests should be represented on the working party in charge of this project, in the persons of John Birmingham, the Councillor with the Environmental and Land Use portfolios, Major Peter Biggs, who as Officer Commanding the Falkland Islands Defence Force currently has responsibility for maintaining mine field security and Environmental Planning Officer, Antony Payne. Retreating Argentine forces in 1982, following their defeat to the British Task Force, left an estimated 20.000 mines in different fields in the Falklands. Under the Ottawa convention, signed among others by Britain and Argentina, there's a timetable for clearing mine fields or at least begin such a process. Britain recently requested a period extension to comply with the mine clearance convention and announced it will shortly begin working at three minefields. Since minefields in the Islands are clearly identified and marked, and given the low population density, the government of the Falkland Islands has proposed as a humanitarian contribution, that funds invested in clearance be applied to more urgent and dangerous situations such as those in several African countries, where hundreds of innocent civilians, mainly children are constantly exposed, killed or maimed. (PN/MP).-