"Jordan has shown courage, responsibility and persistence in turning the dream of a mine-free Jordan into reality in a region where landmines still represent a threat to people’s life and hinder social and economic development," emphasized Crown Prince Haakon in his speech.
The Crown Prince praised Prince Mired Raad al Hussein for his leadership as the President of the Mine Ban Convention in 2007 and 2008, and as a persistent Special Envoy for universal adherence to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
170,000 land mines removed with "wholehearted" Norwegian support
"The National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation, the Royal Engineers Corps and Norwegian People’s Aid have successfully removed more than one-hundred-and-seventy thousand mines in the northern border area, the Jordan Valley and Wadi Araba. People in these areas no longer have to worry about their own safety, or that of their children and future generations," Crown Prince Haakon reflected.
On invitation from the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation, the Norwegian People’s Aid became the first international demining actor to work in Jordan in 2006. After having successfully removed more than 52,000 mines along the Jordan-Israel border, Norwegian People’s Aid was set to clear the remaining landmines along Jordan’s border to Syria. Thus, an additional 118,000 mines, spread over an area of 104 km, have been recovered since April 2008 as a part of the Northern Border Project.
"Norway has wholeheartedly supported Jordan in its efforts to fulfil its obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention," the Crown Prince continued, referring to both moral and financial support.
Norway has covered more than half of the costs of Norwegian People’s Aid mine clearance work in Jordan, amounting to approximately 13 million US dollar. In total, about one third of the demining process in Jordan has been sponsored by Norway.
Land transfer to local farmers and inspiration for neighbour countries
Once the Land Release procedures are completed in the northern border area, one can expect that 12 million square meter of fertile land, which until now has functioned as a buffer zone between mine fields, can be transferred to local framers. Likewise, 50 000 civilians will benefit from increased freedom of movement.
On a regional level, a mine free border area may facilitate the task of demarcating the exact borderline between Jordan and its neighbour countries. As the first country in the Middle East region fulfilling its obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty and officially becoming mine free, Jordan also set an example that hopefully inspire its neighbouring countries to follow in the same paths.
Jordan first mideast country to be free of minefields