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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 Remarks > 2003

Supporting Landmine Clearance in Armenia and Mozambique

Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Mine Action
Ceremony Acknowledging the Partnership Contributions of The Humpty Dumpty Institute, Children of Armenia Fund, and SkyLink Aviation, Inc.
Treaty Room, Washington, DC
June 18, 2003

Welcome. I'm Lincoln Bloomfield, Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Mine Action.

As such, I am responsible for helping the U.S. Government to manage the problems caused by landmines and other explosive remnants of war that affect some 60 countries around the world, including Armenia and Mozambique. The U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program has been active in both of these countries for several years.

I am delighted to welcome everyone here today to witness our appreciation for the vital support exhibited by our private partners -- the Humpty Dumpty Institute, the Children of Armenia Fund' and SkyLink Aviation -- whose contributions will make a real difference in the fight to make Armenia and Mozambique mine-safe. These are a few of the many public-private partners in humanitarian mine action we work with over the course of a year and we are delighted to have an opportunity to welcome them to Washington DC and thank them in person.

I am pleased to acknowledge the presence here of His Excellency Armando Panguene, the Ambassador from Mozambique, and the Honorable Armen Yedigarian, the Deputy Charge of Mission from the Embassy of Armenia. Thank you both.

I want to acknowledge Michael Sonnenfeldt and Ralph Cwerman, Founder and President respectively, of the Humpty Dumpty Institute for their vision in helping to bring us all together today. The State Department and the Humpty Dumpty Institute have worked together for five years to develop additional partnerships that engage the private sector and civil society in humanitarian mine action. As Secretary of State Powell has said, governments cannot solve the global landmine problem by themselves.

Today’s presentations are the latest examples of a productive Humpty Dumpty Institute-State Department collaboration to remove landmines through the development of public-private partnerships. Since 1998, the Humpty Dumpty Institute has raised over $600,000 for demining. Through the Humpty Dumpty Institute-State Department partnership, this sum has been leveraged into more than $1.5 million for mine clearance efforts around the world.

The Humpty Dumpty Institute was instrumental in helping to inspire today’s donations.

Today the Children of Armenia Fund will present a check for $100,000 to help pay for a team of mine detecting dogs for the Government of Armenia. This $100,000 represents donations from about 450 different individuals -- a real example of how concerned citizens can join together at the grass roots level and make a big difference. The valuable dogs for which they have paid will become an integral part of the newly established Armenian Mine Action Center’s mine-clearing force.

The Children of Armenia Fund's donation to the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, or "ITF," based in Slovenia, will be matched by the United States as proscribed by legislation enacted by the U.S. Congress which has been so supportive of mine action in general and the ITF in particular.

This contribution and the U.S. match will support the procurement of additional dogs to complement Armenia's existing mine detection dog capability -- a capability provided by the vision and hard work of yet another of our partners, the Marshall Legacy Institute. We have worked successfully with the Marshall Legacy Institute on other mine detecting dog programs and look forward to working with them again in the future.

Also today, SkyLink Aviation, a leading Canadian aircraft leasing company, will present a check for $100,000 to fund demining training and provision of modern demining equipment in Mozambique. Mozambique is one of the countries where SkyLink has provided contract services to the United Nations and donor nations involved in emergency, peacekeeping and humanitarian undertakings.

As a result of Skylink Aviation's donation, the Department of State will release an additional $150,000 for this particular project, bringing the total contribution to $250,000.

The combined U.S. and SkyLink Aviation contributions will help provide Mozambican humanitarian deminers with additional training in current clearance techniques and new equipment.

Together, these generous donations from the Children of Armenia Fund and SkyLink Aviation embody two key attributes of the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program. First, they are the fruit of strong and innovative public-private partnerships. Second, they strengthen the capacity of national governments to remove persistent landmines on their own territory. Thanks to today’s generous private sector participation, the governments of Armenia and Mozambique will be better equipped to protect their citizens from landmines and return more valuable land to productive use.

On behalf of the United States, I sincerely thank all of our valued partners here today and take this opportunity to also express thanks to all of the other partners with whom we've worked in mine action over the past years for their vision, valuable support and humanity.

Released on June 19, 2003

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