At a meeting today with D M Swaminathan, U S Ambassador Atul Keshap announced an additional $1.745 million (245 million LKR) for demining activities of international and domestic partners and the National Mine Action Committee (NMAC) under the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement, and Hindu Religious Affairs.
In total, the United States has dedicated over $43 million (over 6 billion LKR) for demining assistance in Sri Lanka since 1993.
“I support Minister Swaminathan’s vision of making Sri Lanka mine-impact free by 2020,” said Ambassador Keshap. “As the world’s largest donor of global demining efforts, the United States is committed to addressing the land mine problem in Sri Lanka.”
Ambassador Keshap and Minister Swaminathan also discussed ongoing demining work in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.
“The United States will continue to work with President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Minister Swaminathan, and the people of Sri Lanka to help clear the remaining areas,” added Ambassador Keshap during televised remarks.
For over 20 years, over $43 million in U.S. assistance to Sri Lanka’s demining efforts has included the donation of safety and field equipment, surveys on mine contamination for detection and land release, and mine-clearing operations with international and local non-government organizations.
The United States is also working to boost Sri Lanka’s own demining capacity through training for mine disposal units in the Sri Lankan military, including the Mine Detection Dog program. (Colombo Gazette)