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U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement: Demining

Released by the Bureau of Public Affairs, June 21, 1996


The demining program provides real and visible evidence of the benefits of peace to everyone in Bosnia. It supports IFOR, civilian peace implementation, humanitarian assistance, refugee return, and economic revitalization and reconstruction.

The parties have initiated actions to remove or destroy mines, but these efforts to date have been hindered by winter weather and lack of technical support. The thousands of minefields still in place in Bosnia remain a substantial threat to IFOR and civilians.

There are between two and three million landmines in Bosnia, making it among the five most heavily mined countries in the world. Uncertainty about where mines are makes much of the country too dangerous for civilian use. Unexploded ordnance makes the situation worse.

Statistics on civilian casualties are limited but appear relatively low to date. Ironically this may change once a critical aspect of Dayton--freedom of movement--becomes reality. Returning refugees and displaced persons are likely to be especially vulnerable.

The risks to children are enormous. They often play "war," but the toys available to them are real--bunkers and fighting positions often stocked with weapons caches, landmines, grenades, and other dangerous materials found in a battlefield.

The United States has worked successfully with international organizations and others to establish a demining program in Bosnia, the centerpiece of which is a Mine Action Center (MAC) in Sarajevo. Other centers will be set up throughout the country.

The MAC is a Bosnian organization run with international support. It should:

The U.S. has provided $8.5 million for demining activities in fiscal year 1996.

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Last Updated: June 21, 1996