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Congressmen from US House of Representatives met with ITF

10.07.2012

Congressmen Mr. Elton Gallegly, Mr. Gene Green and Mr. Billy Long from the United States House of Representatives met with ITF Director Mr. Dorijan Marsic and ITF Deputy Director Mr. Goran Gacnik in Split on Sunday July 8th, 2012 in the framework of their visit to the region and their attendance at the Croatia Summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The ITF representatives expressed their appreciation for the long-standing support provided by the Congress to the ITF and its implementation of humanitarian demining programs in South East Europe. The U.S.  with the support of numerous senators and congressmen in close cooperation with the State Department represent the largest donor to the ITF with total contribution of over 159,7 million U.S. dollars, and to the countries in the region who were facing the landmine problem. Mr. Marši? and Mr. Ga?nik presented ITF results in recent years and outlined new trends in humanitarian demining programs, expansion of ITF’s activities to other regions as well as activities regarding conventional weapons destruction (CWD). The U.S. supports the new ITF strategy and is currently funding projects in the field of surplus munitions stockpile destruction as well as training programs for professionals in management of stockpile inventory and demilitarization. 

Both Mr. Marši? and Mr.Ga?nik warned of a downward trend in donor funds caused by the termination of demining programs in the countries of Western Balkans and by financial restrictions of international development aid due to the global economic crisis.

Congressmen were called on to continue with their support for the programs in South East Europe, especially in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and to continue with their support for mine victims’ assistance (MVA) and mine risk education (MRE) programs as these programs have undergone a substantial reduction of available resources over the past year.

Congressmen were interested in the effectiveness of use of U.S. resources and the diversity of programs which are being implemented with U.S. donations. Congressmen were also interested in the broader context of developments in the countries where ITF implements programs and governmental strategies in the field of humanitarian mine action (HMA) and conventional weapons destruction (CWD) as well as their point of view on mitigation of the consequences created by conflicts. 

Expressing their satisfaction with the consultations, the congressmen promised to continue with offering their support of ITF programs in the Congress and to keep track of further accomplishments of the Foundation.