A project aimed at boosting demining efforts in south Lebanon was jointly launched Thursday by the Lebanese Ministry of Defense and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Lebanon in cooperation with the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, reported the Emirati official news agency (WAM).
The launching of "Operation Emirates Solidarity," was announced during a press conference at the UN House, Beirut, which was attended by Lebanon's Minister of Defense, Khalil Hrawi, UAE Ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Omran, and the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Southern Lebanon (PRSG) Staffan de Mistura and other representatives of international donor organizations involved in demining south Lebanon.
According to the UN, the National Demining Office has identified 1,388 mined areas, including 553 in south Lebanon. A nationwide Level One Landmine Impact Survey was started July 2001. From October 1999 to April 2001, the Lebanese Army cleared 23,293 antipersonnel mines, 4,905 antitank mines and numerous other UXO. The Lebanese Army cleared 672,415 square meters of land in 2000 and 154,772 square meters up to April 2001. At least 57 mine awareness education events were conducted between May and December 2000.
The United Arab Emirates has pledged $50 million for demining and reconstruction in South Lebanon. Since the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon in May 2000, 132 mine casualties have been recorded – Albawaba.com
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