[IWAR] CAMBODIA landmines

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Sat Dec 06 1997 - 10:24:24 PST

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                     Cambodia predicts a century to clear landmines
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 Reuters
       PHNOM PENH (December 6, 1997 01:17 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -
       Cambodia could take up to a century to clear millions of anti-personnel
       landmines embedded in its soil, Cambodian co-Premier Ung Huot said on
       Ung Huot, speaking at Phnom Penh airport upon his return from signing an
       international anti-personnel landmines ban in Ottawa, said he was very
       hopeful international funds pledged for mine clearance would reach
       "The international conference on anti-personnel landmines pledged $500
       million to eliminate mines. Cambodia will certainly benefit from this
       money," he told a news conference.
       "Cambodia was brave to sign the ban on anti-personnel landmines even
       though some fighting continues," he said, referring to factional
       conflict in the Cambodian north and west.
       Cambodia, among the most heavily mined countries in the world, was one
       of 121 nations that signed a historic treaty to ban anti-personnel
       landmines worldwide on Thursday in Ottawa.
       The treaty commits countries not to make, use, stockpile or transfer
       mines, and also commits those with mines in the ground to remove them
       within 10 years if possible, with international assistance if needed.
       Ung Huot said it could take Cambodia as long as 100 years to remove the
       estimated four to six million landmines buried in his country's soil
       after decades of conflict.
       But he said with international funding and technical assistance,
       landmines could be wiped out sooner.
       "So we may not have to wait 100 years. If the world community has the
       determination, we can do it in less time," he said.
       Every month up to 200 people, most of them civilians, are maimed or
       killed by landmines in Cambodia.
       Ung Huot was appointed to replace ousted First Prime Minister Prince
       Norodom Ranariddh in August, soon after powerful Second Prime Minister
       Hun Sen deposed the prince on July 6.
       Since July, Hun Sen's government has been fighting a rag-tag army of
       Ranariddh loyalists and Khmer Rouge rebels in Cambodia's north and west,
       where guerrillas lay new mines each day.
       "The Khmer Rouge continue to still lay down mines," said Ung Huot.
       "Please send this message to the Khmer Rouge: When you lay down mines,
       it is wrong, whoever is killed."
       Ung Huot said that during his trip to Canada, he had also met U.N.
       Secretary General Kofi Annan and senior officials from several countries
       to discuss Cambodia's political situation.
       He said he had told them that opposition politicians who fled since the
       coup were welcome to return and the Cambodian government remained
       committed to holding general elections on May 23.

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