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Gov’t to request extra time to clear mines

Deminers from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre who walk though a Stung Treng forest in 2014.
Deminers from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre who walk though a Stung Treng forest in 2014. Pha Lina

Gov’t to request extra time to clear mines

The government plans to request another extension of a deadline – originally set for 2009 and already extended to 2019 – to meet obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty, an official said yesterday.

The treaty, signed and ratified by the Kingdom in the late 1990s, aims to clear all anti-personnel mines in “known areas”, said Heng Ratana, director-general of Cambodia Mine Action Centre.

An unknown number of anti-personnel mines, which are designed to kill or injure individuals, remain scattered throughout the country, covering about 1,000 square kilometres, Ratana said.

He said the government might request the deadline be pushed to 2025. “The level of operational achievement did not meet standards,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”

Clearance was difficult in Cambodia due to the presence of not only anti-personnel mines, but also other devices, such as unexploded ordnance and chemical devices, he said. All devices combined cover about 2,000 square kilometres. “We are challenged with financial and technological resources,” he added.

Ratana said it was unknown when the request would be made.

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