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UAE and Lebanon sign agreement for de-mining and removal of cluster bombs

posted on 27/09/2006: 1949 views

Beirut - The UAE and Lebanon signed an agreement yesterday on the de-mining and removal of cluster bombs and unexploded ordinances in Southern Lebanon. Speaking at a press conference shortly after signing the agreement on Tuesday, UAE Ambassador Mohammed Sultan Al Suweidi said: "The UAE is keen to effect the re-construction of Lebanon, as spelt out in the initiative of President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

This move is part of the wider efforts to free Southern Lebanon by removing cluster bombs and other unexploded ordinances". Al Suweidi said the agreement was within the framework of the UAE-Lebanese Solidarity programme which was launched in May 2002 on the initiative of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The project was completed in May 2004, resulting in the removal of 58,073 landmines across 511 minefields, in addition to 4192 unexploded ordinances. The de-mining efforts also led to reclamation of 193 square kilometers for farming.

The recent initiate of President Khalifa to clear Southern Lebanon of cluster bombs and unexploded ordinances will continue until the end of 2007 and will be implemented in conjunction with the UN and the Lebanese army. The project will cover an estimated 3.1 million square meters infested with landmines.

As for cluster bombs, the clearing operations will cover an area of 580 square kilometer south of Litani River. Some of these areas had been cleared of mines during the UAE-Lebanese Solidarity Programme.

"In this context, we have contracted two British companies, one commissioned to clear landmines and another to clear cluster bombs and unexploded ordinances", said Ambassador Al Suweidi. Experienced UAE teams will also participate in these operations, he added. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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