LAST ANTIPERSSONNEL LAND MINES DESTROYED IN TAJIKISTAN

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DYUSHAMBE, March 31, 2004 (RIA Novosti)-The last group of antipersonnel landmines was destroyed in Tajikistan on Wednesday at the Lyaur military training ground near Dushanbe, the Tajik Mine Center reported.

The deadline for the destruction of all antipersonnel landmines in Tajikistan, established within the framework of the republic's commitments under the Ottawa convention on anti-personnel mines, expires on April 1, 2004.

On Wednesday, more than 200 antipersonnel landmines, stored in the Tajik Defense Ministry, were exploded. Over 3,000 landmines were destroyed in the republic, the Mine Center reported.

Saidamir Zukhurov, the deputy prime minister of Tajikistan, said the leadership of the Defense Ministry and representatives of the Swiss de-mining foundation attended the ceremony to mark the destruction of the last of the antipersonnel landmines.

Tajikistan is the only country in Central Asia which has joined the Ottawa convention on banning the use of antipersonnel landmines.

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