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Country Reports
FALKLANDS/MALVINAS, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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The Falklands/Malvinas are administered by the United Kingdom but claimed by Argentina, and have been a disputed territory between those two countries since the nineteenth century. (See also Argentina and UK country reports). The landmine problem in the Falklands/Malvinas stems from the 1982 conflict between the two countries, during which both parties to the conflict laid thousands of antipersonnel and antitank mines, including remotely-delivered mines. The mined areas are located mainly at the beaches and in peat areas; the mined areas are marked and fenced.[1]

Both Argentina and the U.K. are States Parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and since the islands are under the authority of the United Kingdom, the U.K. is obliged, under Article 5 of the treaty, to clear the island territory of antipersonnel mines by 1 March 2009, ten years after the treaty entered into force.

The U.K. and Argentina are continuing to negotiate on the technically and economically feasible options to proceed with the clearance of landmines in the islands, while maintaining their positions concerning the dispute over sovereignty.[2] In October 2000 a delegation of U.K. Foreign Office and MoD officials traveled to Buenos Aires to continue the negotiations.[3]

On 17 July 2001, the U.K. and Argentine Foreign Ministers agreed that an Exchange of Notes on a demining feasibility study should take place. The government of Argentina has confirmed its commitment to funding the feasibility study.[4]

It is still unclear whether a joint international bidding will be called after the feasibility study is finished, and if Argentina will pay for the costs, which could reportedly amount to $253 million.[5] On the question of possible Argentine involvement in mine clearance in the islands, Geoffrey Hoon, U.K. Secretary of Defense said during a visit to Port Stanley,“For the moment what we are contemplating is that Argentina will make a financial contribution.”[6]

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[1] For more details, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 368-369.
[2] Response to Landmine Monitor by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, December 2000; Interview with Hugh Elliot, Counselor, United Kingdom Embassy in Buenos Aires, November 2000.
[3] Andrea Centeno, “Talks to be Held with Britain on Feasibility of Clearing Falkland Malvinas Mines,” La Nación, 16 October 2000.
[4] Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 31 July 2001.
[5] Andrea Centeno, “Talks to be Held with Britain on Feasibility of Clearing Falkland Malvinas Mines,” La Nación, 16 October 2000.
[6] Penguin News, 10 March 2000.