Argentina and Chile on Monday will hold a ceremony certifying that the Chilean territory of Tierra del Fuego has been completely swept of mines, dating back to the late seventies, and in accordance with the 1999 Ottawa Convention commitments.
Minister Agustin Rossi will be hosted by Chile's Jorge Burgos at the San Sebastian border area in Tierra del Fuego, where the two countries will certify that the territory is free of mines, an event in the framework of the two countries 30th anniversary of the Peace and Friendship accord, and five years since then presidents Cristina Fernandez and Michelle Bachelet made the official commitment.
Chile is in full compliance with the Ottawa convention and since 2002 is a signatory member with the purpose of contributing to a decrease in the number of victims of these lethal weapons. As a consequence Chile created the National De-mining Commission to plan and coordinate all activities relative to those tasks. Even when the Ottawa convention refers to the anti personnel mines, Chile not only destroyed its stored mines but also eliminated the anti-tank mines planted during the seventies along border strips with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.
According to government data Chile has already eliminated 50% of the 181.814 mines planted, and was granted by Ottawa convention members an unanimous extension so that the country can be declared free of mines by 2020. For these tasks Chile has a 200 strong force of experts.
The San Sebastian frontier path is to the north of Tierra del Fuego and can be reached by land to the Argentine side from insular Chile, which includes a ferry crossing of the Magellan Strait.
The last leg of the mine-sweeping process included the clearance of 2.000 mines in four different fields along the frontier passage.