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Govt seeks demining extension

Govt seeks demining extension

CAMBODIA is to request an additional 10 years to meet its agreed land-mine clearance targets when an international summit opens in Cartagena, Colombia, next week, officials said.

“Cambodia will submit [its] request for a 10-year extension, and we will be asked to present on mine clearance and victim assistance,” said Leng Sochea, deputy secretary general of the Cambodian Mines Action Authority.

The Cartagena Summit, which runs from Sunday to December 4, will review adherence to the 1999 Ottawa Convention banning land mines. Under Article 5 of the Convention, countries pledge to destroy “all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction” within 10 years.

But Leng Sochea said the number of mines remaining from Cambodia’s civil war made the January 1, 2010, deadline unattainable, adding that only around 800,000 of the estimated 4 million to 6 million laid prior to 1992 have been cleared.

Cambodia’s delegation, headed by Prak Sokhon, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, departs for Colombia on Friday.

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