Croatia

U.S. public-private donations help demine area in Croatia

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The State Department will match a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Tennis Association to help rid Croatia of landmines, and the combined $50,000 will be used to demine a 48,000-square meter area in the village of Mekusje.
The U.S. Tennis Association's donation will be routed through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance based in Slovenia, which supports humanitarian mine action in the Balkans and the Caucasus.

Following is a State Department announcement:

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
February 13, 2003

Media Note

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DOUBLES U.S. TENNIS ASSOCIATION'S GRANT TO CLEAR CROATIA'S LANDMINES

The U.S. Department of State's Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs will match a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Tennis Association to help rid Croatia of landmines. The combined $50,000 will be used to demine a 48,000 square meter area adjoining a once popular tennis court in the village of Mekusje, about 30 miles west of Zagreb.

The U.S. Tennis Association's grant was inspired by a February 5, 2003 visit to a mine clearance operation in Croatia by a delegation led by Warren Kimball and Allen Kiel, Chairmen of the U.S. Tennis Association's Davis Cup Committee. The visit, encouraged by U.S. Davis Cup coach Jim Courier and organized by the U.S. Embassy and Croatian authorities, occurred during a trip by U.S. Tennis Association officials who were accompanying the U.S. Davis Cup Team for the United States vs. Croatia Davis Cup first round. Team players planned to participate in the minefield visit but a snowstorm and conflicting practice schedule prevented them from doing so.

The U.S. Tennis Association's donation will be routed through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance based in Slovenia. This fund, which is backed by the U.S. Department of State and other donor nations, supports humanitarian mine action in the Balkans and the Caucasus. Grants from other governments, private citizens and non-governmental organizations that are made via the International Trust Fund are eligible for matching grants from the United States.

"We deeply appreciate this valuable contribution and the fact that the U.S. Tennis Association has prudently chosen to leverage it through the International Trust Fund, thereby doubling its impact," said Donald "Pat" Patierno, Director of the Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

"This is another win for the public-private partnership concept with everyone working together as a team to help rid Croatia of the last deadly vestiges of conflict," said James Lawrence, Director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs' Office of Mine Action Initiatives and Partnerships. "I hope that this heartfelt gift will inspire the worldwide tennis community to further support mine action."

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