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Norway and USA to Clear Mine Fields in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine

The new initiative was announced in conjunction with US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Oslo on Wednesday.

– In the secured areas of Iraq, we are entering in cooperation with the USA to remove mines. There are a lot of Norwegian knowledge and experience in mine clearance. It is incredibly important for the inhabitants to return, do agriculture and to provide children safe play areas and safe school routes, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg  to VG.

The collaboration is part of the work being coordinated by the US-led coalition against IS, where Norway recently signed up to train local Syrian forces.

’Clearing mines and other explosives from land areas is a vital part of the global struggle for peace,’ said Mr Brende, following the launch of the initiative.

’The farmers in Ukraine need to know that it is safe to go out into the fields and start food production again. People in rural areas of Colombia need to know that it is safe to move back home. The inhabitants of Syria’s cities need to know that they will not be putting their lives at risk when they start to rebuild buildings that have been destroyed by bombs,’ Mr Brende said.

Norway is increasing its allocation for mine clearance efforts by NOK 81 million this year and will allocate a further NOK 125 million next year. The US is increasing its contribution by NOK 89 million this year, and will allocate an additional NOK 66 million next year.

Norway and the US are among the world’s five largest contributors to the fight against landmines.

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