STANLEY, Falkland Islands – On 14 June 1982 as British Forces liberated the beleaguered small Falkland Islands population from Argentine occupation and the Islanders rejoiced as British democracy was restored, disturbing rumours began to circulate – Argentine soldiers had reportedly been observed laying vast numbers of mines in areas close to the town and beyond.
Ambassadors and representatives of nations that signed the Ottawa Convention called on Monday in Santiago for a quicker clearing of minefields, so that by 2025 the world will be completely free of landmines.
The Chilean Army is involved in anti personnel-mine sweeping operations in the Magallanes region, north of Punta Arenas, as part of the country's commitment to have the region free of all mines by 2020 thus complying with the Ottawa convention.
Argentina and Chile defense ministers, Agustín Rossi and Jorge Burgos, attended this week a historic ceremony in which they signed a document declaring Tierra del Fuego free of anti-personal mines. During the meeting minister Rossi blamed the UK for not allowing Argentina to clear the mines in the Falklands/Malvinas Islands.
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.
The United States said Tuesday it halting the use of anti-personnel mines apart from in the tense No Man's Land between the Koreas, a step closer to compliance with a global convention.
A group of experts from Norway begins on Monday demining tasks along the Chile-Peru border which are expected to last for at least two months, according to a release from the Chilean Foreign Ministry.
Robin Swanson, head of the Demining Program Office and visiting the Falkland Islands this week ahead of the new phase of land-mine clearance due to start early next year, confirmed that the forthcoming planned clearances will advance the demining process from the pilot stage to a more advanced “land release” phase.
Chile formally requested Monday an extension until March 2020 to complete antipersonnel mines clearance particularly to the north and south of the country, during the meeting of the signatories and observers of the Ottawa Convention taking place in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia.
The UK Government congratulated Nepal for the successful clearance of its last remaining minefields and its designation as a landmine free country. On the culmination of the task, the Foreign Office called on the Nepalese government to join the Ottawa Convention