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Fact Sheet: U.S. humanitarian demining programs in the Caucasus

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The State Department issued the following fact sheet February 13 outlining U.S. humanitarian demining assistance for the Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia:
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U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs
Washington, D.C.
February 13, 2003

Fact Sheet

UNITED STATES HUMANITARIAN DEMINING PROGRAMS IN THE CAUCASUS

The U.S. Government's Humanitarian Demining Program seeks to relieve human suffering while promoting U.S. interests. The Program's objectives are to reduce civilian casualties, create conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, reinforce an affected country's stability, and encourage international cooperation and participation. The Program seeks to accomplish these objectives by helping establish and support sustainable, indigenous mine action capabilities in mine-affected nations. The Program provides these nations with the appropriate resources and skills needed to sustain the degree of progress that allows a country to declare itself mine-safe. Since FY 1993, the United States has committed over $600 million to global mine action initiatives, including research and development.

- The United States has provided assistance to three of the Caucasus countries that sought U.S. help for humanitarian mine action: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

- Since FY 1993, the United States has provided more than $16,885,000 in humanitarian demining assistance to the Caucasus region.

Country
U.S. Assistance
Number of mines
Current affected land
Cleared land
Mines/UXO destroyed
Armenia
$7,395,000
80,000-100,000
1,800-2,500 km2
5,500 m2
1
Azerbaijan
$6,747,000
50,000 +
604 km2
1,890,000 m2
2004
Georgia
$2,743,000
20,000-70,000
18,720 m2
Over 50,000 m2
6,400

(Note: Mine clearance activities began in Armenia during October 2002 after demining training was complete. Due to the cessation of the demining season, activities were forced to close. Demining events will proceed at the end of March when the weather permits.)

- The U.S. has trained and equipped deminers in all three countries including more than 100 deminers in Azerbaijan, 97 in Armenia, and 45 in Georgia. The U.S. has also provided training on mine risk education, information management, area reduction, mine detection dogs, emergency medical treatment, communications, and special courses of instruction for survey personnel.

- Mine risk education programs are being conducted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. HALO Trust, a nongovernmental organization (NGO), conducted mine risk education briefings to more than 9,000 people in Georgia with funds provided by the United States. Armenia recently completed five months of mine risk education training in the areas of product development, survey, and market analysis. The U.S., in conjunction with UNICEF, also provided mine risk education instruction in Azerbaijan for 800 teachers, 500 medical personnel, and 200 representatives from public organizations.

- Mine clearance activities emphasize creating the infrastructure necessary to support the return of refugees and internally-displaced persons to their homes and reduce casualties among civilians.

- The United States provided $100,000 to UNICEF in order to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the North Caucasus region. This region consists of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, and the Stravropol Krai. UNICEF and UNHCR, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the NGO community, targeted a mine risk education campaign among these countries while pursuing a preventative, curative, and rehabilitative strategy to deal with the problem of mines/UXO.

[A chart showing "Percentage of U.S. Funds for the Caucasus Countries" is available at: http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/17693.htm]

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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)