UN statement says Australia increases contribution to clear mines in Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-18 19:22:28|Editor: xuxin
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BAGHDAD, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq Monday said it has received further contribution of 1.5 million U.S. dollars from Australia in an effort to decrease explosive hazards in Iraqi liberated areas.

"This contribution from the government of Australia will further support UNMAS explosive hazards management activities to create safe conditions for the sustainable return of displaced people," said a UNMAS statement.

Australia has been an essential contributor to the efforts of clearing explosives from areas liberated from the Islamic State (IS), as its current contribution brings its total contributions to approximately 9 million U.S. dollars since 2016, according to the statement.

"Although much progress has already been made, the huge scale of explosive hazards contamination in Iraq means there is still much to be done," the statement quoted Australia's Ambassador to Iraq Joanne Loundes as saying.

IS militants have planted thousands of landmines in areas they once seized. Despite the efforts of the Iraqi security forces, many liberated areas still require exerting more effort to clear the landmines to guarantee safe return for displaced people to return to their homes.

The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country in late 2017.