The Iraqi Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) agreed yesterday to cooperate and facilitate the work of companies and organisations wishing to carry out clearance and removal work of mines and remnants of war.
The head of the Iraqi Directorate for Mine Action, Dhafer Mahmoud Khalaf, said in a statement that he had discussed with the UNMAS senior programme manager, Pehr Lodhammarm ways to overcome obstacles preventing organisations and companies working in the field of removing mines and war remnants from obtaining work permits.
"The meeting led to the adoption of quick and urgent solutions regarding mechanisms for granting work orders to organisations and authorised companies in the various fields of mine affairs," Khalaf said.
He pointed out that there are large areas that are contaminated with mines, most of them in Basra Governorate, where the contaminated areas amounted to about 1,250 square kilometres, due to wars that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s and they still pose a great danger to the lives of citizens.
"The next stage of clearance work will include the governorates of Karbala and Najaf, as they are the least contaminated governorates, and they will be completely cleared during the current year," he said, noting that "Iraq should be free of mines by 2028, according to the international agreements to which it had joined."