WASHINGTON, USA – The Organization of American States (OAS) and the government of Ecuador on Tuesday signed a Cooperation and Technical Assistance Agreement related to the OAS Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines Program (AICMA) to advance towards the elimination of antipersonnel mines in the country’s territory.
At the signing ceremony, OAS secretary-general Luis Almagro recalled that antipersonnel mines represent a sad legacy of conflict and mistrust; and that years later, “landmines threaten our citizens with mutilation and death, while preventing them from using the land and other resources needed for their well-being and economic development.”
For his part, the permanent representative of Ecuador to the OAS, Carlos Játiva, said that the “signing of this agreement ratifies Ecuador’s irrevocable commitment to peace and security in the hemisphere, as well as to becoming a nation free of antipersonnel mines, within the goal set between now and 2025, in accordance with the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on Their Destruction.”
Ambassador Játiva praised the efforts of the OAS to mobilize international cooperation to advance the costly demining tasks. “This will allow Ecuador and Peru to complete the long-awaited task of eliminating from our common border the danger that these deadly devices pose to our populations and will contribute to making the Americas an anti-personnel mine-free zone,” Ambassador Játiva said.
Finally, the OAS secretary-general announced: “We will continue to work to eliminate landmines in Ecuador and to accompany this work along with similar efforts by the Republic of Peru to complete its own humanitarian demining efforts as part of both countries’ fulfillment of their commitment to lasting peace between them.”
The OAS Department of Public Security’s Comprehensive Mine Action Program has supported ten Member States in their mine action efforts since 2010.
Some of the achievements of this program have been:
• Seven countries completed destruction of stockpiled mines;
• Five countries free of antipersonnel mines;
• One million stockpiled mines destroyed;
• 200,000 mines cleared.