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UN set to transfer demining activities to Kosovo authorities

UN set to transfer demining activities to Kosovo authorities

After determining that all known minefields and cluster bomb strike sites in Kosovo have been cleared to internationally acceptable standards, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in the province today said it was set to transfer the long-term responsibility for demining activities to local authorities.

Over the past two and a half years, the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre oversaw the work of 16 mine clearance organizations, using personnel from a dozen countries working alongside 900 trained Kosovars, to destroy nearly 25,000 landmines and more than 8,300 cluster bombs, according to the Mission, known by its acronym, UNMIK.

The effort included contribution from 15 other organizations that helped communities to understand the threat of mines and educate them about the risk they pose.

Total clearance, however, can never be guaranteed, UNMIK said, noting that starting tomorrow, Kosovo's Department of Civil Security and Emergency Preparedness will take over responsibility for managing any residual threat.