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File photo of Lebanese Ambassador to Washington  Antoine Chedid
File photo of Lebanese Ambassador to Washington Antoine Chedid

Lebanon asked the United States Monday for more aid in eliminating landmines planted during the Lebanese civil war and in later conflicts.

The State Department published Monday its yearly report on its program to destroy abandoned conventional weapons.

It is a 2.5 billion dollar program dating back to 1993, and allotted around 140 million dollars last year.

The United States said that makes it the world’s top country in terms of eliminating unexploded ordnance like anti-personnel landmines.

Speaking as the report was released, Lebanese Ambassador Antoine Chedid warned against “donor fatigue” in making land in formerly war-torn countries such as his safe to walk, farm, or build on.

“This is very important, that the US will continue and even increase the level of assistance and it’s absolutely very important also that the US puts pressure on other donors, international donors,” Chedid told a news conference.

“The reality is that Lebanon is contaminated with landmines,” he added. This danger stems from the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1991 and fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 in south Lebanon.

Mine danger sign
Mine danger sign

In 2013, Syria was also accused of placing landmines along its border with Lebanon.

The State Department says Washington has spent more than 55 million dollars on landmine and other ordnance clearing in Lebanon from 1998 to 2014. Last year, the amount was 2.5 million dollars.

“We have turned one-time battlegrounds into land for vital infrastructure. We have cleared mine fields so that farmers can get back to their fields and children can walk to school safely in Angola, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and many other countries,” said Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in December of last year that the world would soon be rid of anti-personnel mines.

The Ottawa Convention of 1997, so far signed by 162 countries but not the United States, bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.

Former US  Ambassador to Lebanon)  Jeffrey Feltman  estimated in 2004 that containing some estimates,  that there are about unexploded 400,000  unexploded mines  in Lebanon. This 1999 map shows the approx . locations the mines . Some countries won’t give Lebanon the maps of the mine locations (Syria and Israel) and many militias don’t want to give that information despite the fact that the civil war ended 25 years ago
Former US Ambassador to Lebanon) Jeffrey Feltman estimated in 2004 that  there are about 400,000 unexploded mines in Lebanon. This map shows the approx . locations of  the mines . Some countries such as Syria and Israel won’t give Lebanon the maps of the mine locations  and many militias don’t want to give that information despite the fact that the civil war ended 25 years ago

YAHOO/AFP

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