Friday, November 7, 2008

Mine-Removal Plan Proceeding -- Slowly

Chile is behind on a pledge to remove all land mines, having cleared out just 14% of all minefields so far. Defense Minister Jose Goñi said the government will probably notify the signatories of the Ottawa Treaty that Chile won't meet its 2012 target date. So far, 18,000 antipersonnel and 21,000 antitank mines have been removed from the borders with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. But more than 150,000 mines remain buried. The army is now using a specialized excavator provided by the U.S. to clean out an area near the Peruvian border. U.S. military personnel have been assisting Chile in the effort. Chile laid the mines in the 1970s, when Peru and Argentina threatened to settle border disputes by force.

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