Issue No. 19, October 1997
UK Action-Plan on Landmines
'George Robertson pledges action on landmines,' UK Ministry of
Defence (MOD) News Release 147/97, 21 October 1997
"George Robertson, Secretary of State for Defence, today
declared a major offensive against the scourge of landmines
Mr Robertson, on a visit to a minefield in Mostar, Bosnia,
unveiled a five-point plan under which the UK Ministry of Defence
will collate information, assess equipment and train and advise
organisations to go out and deal with landmines on the ground.
Mr Robertson said: 'The British Army has developed considerable
experience in post-conflict mine clearance in recent years and has
given assistance to those involved in humanitarian demining. I
believe it should do more, so that the technology and skills
developed for defence purposes are more readily available to the
many organisations and individuals tackling this major humanitarian
The Secretary of State gave details of his five point plan:-
Mr Robertson said: 'British soldiers have been in Bosnia on
peacekeeping duties since 1992 and they are only too well aware of
the physical risk that landmines create; indeed six soldiers have
been killed and 27 seriously injured by such weapons in Bosnia and
- A Mine Information and Training Centre is to be established at
the School for Military Engineering at Minley in Surrey. The
centre, which will open early next year, will become a one-stop
shop for guidance and information on counter-mine measures to other
government departments, non-governmental organisations, aid
agencies, academia and industry to assist those who are tackling
the issue of humanitarian demining across the globe.
- A new military post has been established within the MOD to lead
a coordination group within the Department to provide the necessary
focus and expertise in dealing with landmines.
- The MOD's Research and Trials Organisation at Chertsey will
examine the suitability of commercial off-the-shelf equipment that
might be used for humanitarian demining. The results of this
research will be made widely available.
- The MOD will provide additional manpower to assist with the
management of demining programmes. In recent years the MOD has
provided mine experts to programmes in Afghanistan, Angola, Belize,
Cambodia and Cyprus, and played an important part in establishing
the UN Mines Action Centre in Bosnia.
- An inter-departmental working group is being established to
focus the existing arrangements that exist between the three
principal Departments of State which address demining issues: the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International
Development and the MOD.
'Yesterday I visited a school at Sipovo, where I saw British
soldiers providing mine awareness training to young children, who
are so often the victim of landmines. Over the past 12 months, some
12,000 children have been trained by our soldiers here in Bosnia,
and this will continue wherever we deploy Army units in mine
affected countries around the world.
'The five-point plan that I have announced today is a good
start. More measures are under consideration.'"
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.
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