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Successfully Clearing Central America's Landmines

Richard Kidd , Director, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
Letter to the Editor, The Washington Times
Washington, DC
March 7, 2007

To the Editor:

Your piece in the Feb. 27 "Briefly" section entitled "Land mines still pose dangers" suggests that Nicaragua has made little progress in alleviating the threat from land mines emplaced during the 1980s. That is not the case.

Since 1993, the United States has spent $30 million to assist four Central American republics in clearing minefields and has trained over 500 of their military personnel in humanitarian demining techniques. This effort has succeeded. Three of the four -- Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras -- are now "mine impact free" and a fourth, Nicaragua, expects to become so this year. While "mine impact free" does not mean that every single landmine has been removed, it does indicate that landmines no longer pose a significant threat to the health, social, or economic well-being of the people living in those countries.

Richard G. Kidd
Director, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
U.S. Department of State



Released on March 7, 2007

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