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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2005 > December
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 15, 2005


Guatemala Completes Landmine Clearance

Guatemala has today completed its program to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance from its territory, thanks in part to United States assistance that was channeled through the Organization of American States (OAS), and now joins the small but growing number of countries that are no longer significantly affected by landmines left from past conflicts. The United States is pleased to have worked in close partnership with Guatemala and the OAS to achieve this success.

Since 1998 the United States invested approximately $500,000 in mine action assistance in Guatemala. The U.S. Department of State helped enable clearance of 4,127 persistent landmines and pieces of unexploded ordnance that threatened 1,800 communities, thereby restoring over 10,506 square meters of land to productive use, and to teach residents in mine affected areas to recognize and avoid touching dangerous remnants of war. In support of the Pan American Health Organizationís efforts in Central America, the U.S. Agency for International Developmentís Leahy War Victims Fund underwrote training for Guatemalan doctors and rehabilitation specialists to improve the physical and social status of Guatemalans wounded by conflict. The U.S. Department of Defenseís humanitarian demining research and development program provided Guatemala with demining technology prototypes (Demining Support System multi-lingual computer; LexFoam detonating material; mine location marking systems) for field testing.

Other countries that have received assistance from the inter-agency U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program and that were earlier rendered free from the humanitarian impact of landmines and unexploded ordnance (i.e."impact free") include Costa Rica, Djibouti, Honduras, and Kosovo province. El Salvador and Suriname, which received from the United States landmine survivors assistance and air lift capacity for humanitarian deminers, respectively, have also already become impact free.

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of Stateís Bureau of Political-Military Affairs continues to provide humanitarian mine action assistance and support for small arms/light weapons mitigation to other countries worldwide. To learn more, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.

2005/1173


Released on December 15, 2005

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