OSCE/ITF conference in Dushanbe on Facilitating Central Asia Regional Cooperation in Mine Action
The Conference on Facilitation on Central Asian Regional Cooperation in Mine Action organized by the OSCE Office in Tajikistan together with the International Trust Fund (ITF) commenced at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dushanbe today. This conference is part of the OSCE/ITF’s multi-phase project on the facilitation of regional cooperation in Mine Action with an overall objective of laying down a cooperation framework to address the land mine and related problems in Central Asia.
“Tajikistan has already taken considerable steps towards clearing mine contaminated zones within its territory. However, dealing with the contentious issue of mined border areas within the Ferghana Valley region may require a multilateral approach that takes into account related issues of concern amongst individual states within the region. The OSCE with its regional political presence is ideally suited to play a facilitating role in encouraging the Central Asian states to shape a basis for cooperation in mine action”, says Ambassador Ivar Vikki the Head of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan.
“The OSCE office in Tajikistan recognizes the impact that the regional mine threat poses towards development, security, public safety and even bilateral ties; and views this undertaking as an important confidence and security building measure within the region.”
Central Asia, as a region, has many localized mine threats; resulting from legacy Soviet Union minefields, border area mine belts placed after the break up of the Soviet Union, and as a result of internal conflicts.
“Clearing landmines contributes to the country’s economic and environmental security as more land is available for agriculture and reforestation efforts”, said Jonmahmad Rajabov, the Head of the Tajik Mine Action Centre. “Due to OSCE’s Regional effort it also helps improve cross-border co-operation and monitoring”.
“Regional cooperation initiated by the ITF for the Western Balkan countries contaminated with landmines proved to be successful impetus in clearing contaminated areas of bi- or multilateral concern”, underlined Jernej Cimperšek, Deputy Head of Slovenian Permanent Mission to the OSCE in Vienna, acting as co-chair of the conference.