Germany discovers mines at former Soviet base: treaty

24th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany has found landmines at a former Soviet military base in the country's north-east, a spokeswoman of the Mine Ban Treaty said Friday.

Germany told a week-long meeting of states party to the treaty that it discovered the mines while carrying out an initial survey of an ex-Soviet military training area at Wittstock, in the state of Brandenburg, formerly part of communist East Germany.

"The anti-personnel mines found during the initial survey have been destroyed," the German delegation said, according to a copy of its statement to the meeting.

"As a next step, a further survey will determine the exact extent of the contamination and identify the precise extent of the remaining area that might have to be cleared," it added.

The cluster munitions and mines were mainly found at the southern part of the training zone, which is off limits to civilians.

The area in question measures about 400 hectares (4 square kilometres).

"Germany's identification of a potentially mined area is surprising, but shows the government is transparent, and we are pleased that Germany will assess the area to determine if clearance is required," said Kasia Derlicka, who heads the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Meanwhile, states party to the treaty also heard that Nigeria has cleared its territory of landmines, becoming the 17th state party to the convention to do so.

Despite progress made by some countries in the implementation of the treaty, the meeting noted that there have been reports of new usage of the deadly weapons in Libya.

Four countries -- Algeria, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Eritrea have asked for more time to complete mine clearance.

The next meeting of the Mine Ban Treaty will be held in Phnom Penh between November 28 to December 2.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article