Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs
October 31, 2002
Humanitarian Mine Action Subgroup Minutes of October 3, 2002 Meeting
Summary: The Humanitarian Mine Action Subgroup of the Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC) for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations met on October 3, 2002. Briefings were given on Afghanistan, North Korea, Northern Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Sudan. In addition, representatives from the Department of Defense (DoD) outlined projected mine action deployments; the repositioning of the Quick Reaction Demining Force (QRDF) was discussed; update on the status of the Interagency Strategic Framework was given; and the distribution of the new edition of the publication "To Walk the Earth in Safety" was noted. Action items revolved around the coordination of the timeframe for upcoming Policy Assessment Visits to Georgia and Tajikistan.
Afghanistan: FY03 NADR allocation will be used to fund projects with international organizations and the training of middle managers. Also, the Department of State (DOS) is seeking a partner nation to support projects to address unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem. There is a significant problem with UXO that was scattered when ammunition dumps were destroyed.
The DoD has provided mine boards and, with other non-Overseas Humanitarian Disaster Assistance and Civic Aid funds transferred to DOS, is supporting mine clearance operations around the airfields in Bagram and Kandahar. Central Command (CENTCOM) is planning the training of medical personnel to deal with demining accidents.
North Korea: A Canadian NGO requested the Government of Canada to fund a demining project in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) (clearance for railways and roads). The Canadian Embassy requested funds from DOS, which declined.
Northern Iraq: Approved for USG assistance on August 30, 2002. The Department of State's Near East Bureau (NEA) has awarded two grants for mine clearance in Northern Iraq: one to Norwegian People’s Aid; the other to the Mine Advisory Group. Training will begin soon. The landmine problem in Northern Iraq is severe, and ways to alleviate this problem should be considered.
Sudan: Approved for USG assistance through the Emergency Demining Initiative on August 30, 2002. An uneasy peace is still holding in the Nuba Mountains. This situation will be closely monitored. Limited assistance in support of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) mission will be the only current involvement.
Sri Lanka: Approved for USG assistance on August 30, 2002. A Requirement Determination Site Survey has been completed. The Department of Defense plans to conduct military-to-military demining training, likely to commence in January 2003. In addition to the landmine problem, Sri Lanka is troubled by a significant UXO problem. The UXO problem was exacerbated by attacks on munitions depots.
The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs (PM/HDP) reports that Deputy Secretary of State Armitage supports more vigorous efforts to assist Sri Lanka. Post and PM/HDP are currently working on proposals for increased mine action activity. (There already exists a grant to UNICEF for mine risk education.)
Angola: There is a reorganization of mine action programs in Angola. The National Institute for the Removal of Explosive Obstacles (INAROEE) is being eliminated. The Department of State will continue mine action assistance through NGOs. The Subgroup will consider a Policy Assessment Visit (PAV) in 2003, allowing time for the new Angolan mine action structure to be established and begin its operations.
Colombia: Rebel forces and drug lords continue to lay mines, making the situation worse. Based on an informal request from Colombia’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States, the Subgroup agreed to consider the possibility of a PAV at its next meeting. (Subsequent to the Subgroup meeting, the Government of Colombia submitted a formal request for U.S. assistance.)
Georgia: The PAV to Georgia, approved at the June 2002 Subgroup meeting, is being planned for March 2003.
Tajikistan: The PAV to Tajikistan, approved at the June 2002 Subgroup meeting, is being considered for mid-November 2002.
Long Range Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Calendar: Representatives from the JCS outlined projected deployments for FY03. They include: seven deployments planned for the European Command (EUCOM); four deployments planned for Southern Command (SOUTCOM); two deployments planned for Central Command (CENTCOM); and four deployments planned for Pacific Command (PACOM).
QRDF Repositioning: The QRDF will be moved from Mozambique due to disagreement over a number of issues, including authority to deploy the force. The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs is researching alternate locations.
Interagency Strategic Framework: A final draft of the framework is currently circulating. The Department of State anticipates the final version of the document will be issued by mid-November.
DoD Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Activities: The mine clearing cultivator and mine sifter arrived in Africa in mid-October for deployment to Xangono, Angola for field trials. Trials of the Tempest and Survivable Demining Tractor and Tools continue in Thailand. Deployment of the UniDisk to Mozambique for trials along the Limpopo Railway has been approved and is being coordinated with Mennen gegen Minen (MgM). Plans continue for deployment of an additional upgraded Tempest to Mozambique.
Distribution of "To Walk the Earth in Safety": PM/HDP is distributing the new 4th edition.