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Abstract

The U.S. government has been a pioneer and dedicated supporter of humanitarian mine action since the first mine clearance programs began taking shape in Afghanistan in 1988. Through the investigation of new detection and clearance technologies, the development of indigenous mine action capacities and the formation of a wide array of public-private partnerships, the United States has demonstrated that its response to the persistent landmine problem remains a high priority. Impressive as the combined accomplishments of the U.S. government, the private sector, and other donor governments have been, they still, however, do not provide a full response to the enormous tasks that remain. Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Mine Action and the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military (PM) Affairs, recognizes this reality and has called for an aggressive international mine action agenda in the coming years. Part of this agenda has required the definition of “mine action” to be expanded to include remediation of abandoned munitions and small arms/light weapons with the aim of serving the broader objectives of post-conflict reconstruction and national reconciliation. As a result, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) within the Department of State’s Bureau of PM Affairs was created to address these issues in a more synergistic manner.

 

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