17/05/2011
Wassana Nanuam

Bangkok Post


The conflict between Thailand and Cambodia is being blamed for contributing to delays in military operations to clear landmines from border areas.
The Royal Thai Armed Force's Thailand Mine Action Centre (TMAC) recently released a statement saying it had managed to remove mines from about 40% of the 3.6 million square metres targeted. The mines were removed during TMAC operations between October and March this year.
About half of the land still littered with mines is located on the border near Preah Vihear temple where skirmishes have been persisting.
The landmine areas are divided into four zones, each of which is under the control of a different mine sweeping unit.


The first zone consists of about 810,000 square metres in the border area in Sa Kaeo province. Only 362,169 square metres of the zone has been cleared.
The second zone also covers 810,000 square metres in the eastern provinces of Trat and Chanthaburi where 511,140 square metres has been cleared.
The third zone covers 1.2 million square metres along the border in Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani provinces. Only 355,227 square metres of this area has been cleared.
The last zone covers 810,000 square metres on the Thai-Lao border in Phetchabun, Loei, Phitsanulok, Uttaradit, Nan and Phayao and the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Rai.
TMAC has cleared 322,870 square metres in this zone.
TMAC head Lt Gen Annop Sirisak said there were several factors delaying landmine clearance operations in the border areas, including the prolonged territorial dispute between Thailand and Cambodia and border unrest.

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