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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Releases > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Fact Sheets > 2003
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
December 23, 2003

Humanitarian Mine Action Subgroup Minutes of December 11, 2003 Meeting

1. Summary: the Interagency Policy Coordination Committee (PCC) Subgroup on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) met on December 11, 2003. NSC chaired the meeting. Representatives from the Department of State (DOS), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Agency for International Development (USAID) participated. Based on discussion of the recent Policy Assessment Visits (PAV), Tajikistan and Chile were accepted into the USG program. A decision on Georgia was deferred. DOS reported on a recent trip to Colombia and discussed continuing mine risk education there. Members discussed the future of the Subgroup. End Summary.

2. Tajikistan: The Subgroup decided to grant the modest Tajik request for assistance. The results of the PAV indicated that there was a strong government commitment to mine removal and resources already in place from the OSCE and other donors. USG contributions from DOS and DoD would provide equipment (DOS) and training (DoD) to help bring clearance and survey operations up to IMAS. Assistance will be minimal during the first year.

3. Georgia: The Subgroup decided to defer a decision on the Georgian request for assistance. The results of the PAV indicated that the humanitarian impact of landmines in Georgia proper was minimal, and that the Georgian government was not sufficiently committed to alleviating this minimal problem. The risk of malfeasance and funds lost through corruption would be too high. However, the recent change in government may lead to increased support for mine action, therefore the group did not want to reject the request at this time.

4. Chile: The Subgroup decided that Chile would enter into the program as a DoD-only initiative. The DOS may consider funding Chile in the future. The PAV indicated that the humanitarian impact of landmines is limited to barring avenues for economic development; most minefields are marked and therefore civilian casualties are low. DoD would support the program with training and small equipment donations for the Chilean Army Engineering Brigade. Once trained the Chilean deminers would be able to take part in UN or other peacekeeping missions.

5. Colombia: The continued civil war in Colombia renders it ineligible for official entry into the USG Humanitarian Mine Action program. A DOS recent visit to Colombia indicated that landmines and improvised explosive devices are still being set in Colombia, leaving the civilian population at risk. While a full demining program is not feasible at this time the DOS sees benefit in continuing some form of mine risk education (MRE) assistance. In the past this assistance was provided through UNICEF. In addition to educating people, particularly children, of the threat around them, the right MRE program would establish an indigenous capacity that would accelerate the development of a full HMA program should the fighting cease. The Subgroup decided that this was a good idea, but that DoD would not consider offering assistance until Colombia was ready for a full program.

6. USAID's Leahy War Victims Fund: USAID briefed on the Fundís plans for the coming year. It will provide additional, FY '04 funding for ongoing projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Possible, new grants for program for wheel chair users are under consideration in Albania, the Philippines, Nicaragua and a number of other countries. New activities are currently underway in the DRC, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia. The fund continues to support an innovative economic integration program in Southern Lebanon, which could potentially serve as a model for other mine-affected countries.

7. Future of the PCC-Subgroup on Humanitarian Mine Action: The members present discussed the evolution of the USG program and operating procedures for the subgroup. It was noted that there are only a few countries left with serious mine problems that are not already in the program. Therefore, the traditional primary purpose of the Subgroup, to evaluate PAVs, may become less pressing in the future. Members noted the need to continue to coordinate, however, and began to explore options for evolving the subgroup. The subgroup will meet to discuss this issue on January 20, 2004.


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