HAVANA – The Colombian government and FARC rebels have agreed to start removing land-mines from two provinces, though they still haven’t decided exactly where the work will be done.
“This accord is a work in progress and its execution is right around the corner,” the government’s chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, said as the 34th cycle of peace talks came to an end Friday in Havana.
Sources close to the negotiations told Efe that the plan for land-mine removal will be carried out in two or three places in the northwestern province of Antioquia and the central region of Meta, as a pilot project to be used later as a guide when the work is extended to the rest of the country.
The two sides reached an accord March 7 to remove and decontaminate anti-personnel mines and other explosive devices, a sign that substantial progress has been made toward ending the decades-old conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
More than half of Colombia’s municipalities are estimated to have minefields.
Land mines have left more than 11,000 victims between those killed and wounded in the country since 1990, the second most affected in the world after Afghanistan.
The work of mine clearing will be performed jointly by security forces and the guerrillas, coordinated by the Norwegian People’s Aid organization, according to the agreement.