France to clear its landmines from Djibouti

30th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

NAIROBI, Nov 30 (AFP) - The French army will clear landmines that were buried deep underground by landslides around its military base in Djibouti, starting in 2006, officials said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

NAIROBI, Nov 30 (AFP) - The French army will clear landmines that were buried deep underground by landslides around its military base in Djibouti, starting in 2006, officials said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

"From October 2006, the French army will start removing mines buried very deep in the ground by flooding and landslides in our La Doudah military base in Djibouti," French ambassador for demining action and assistance of victims Gerard Chesnel told AFP in Nairobi.

France said last June that it was assessing how best to clear the deadly devices from the French military base in Djibouti.

"Since the mines are very deep in the ground, we shall require special equipment to remove them. It is a very difficult technical exercise.

"There are dozens of them in the ground, not hundreds, so we hope to finish the exercise by May 2007, two years ahead of the deadline imposed by the 1997 Ottawa Convention," Chesnel said.

He explained that in the 1970s, the French military laid hundreds of mines under the surface around its military base's ammunition stores in Djibouti to protect them from thieves.

"When we did that, the convention was not yet there," he told AFP in an interview.

"We have since cleared mines that were on the surface, but those that were buried under the ground by the landslide remain," Chesnel said.

"However, we have fences surrounding the areas where mines are buried, so I can say that there have been no casualties," he said.

France has signed and ratified the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel landmines, which bans their use, production, stockpiling and transfer and also calls for mined areas to be cleared within 10 years.

So far, 144 countries have ratified the treaty. The United States, China and Russia have not ratified it.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article