Destruction of anti-personnel mines in Albania
On 29 June, a ceremony marking the inauguration of the process line to destroy Albania's stockpile of anti-personnel mines, took place at Mjekës, south of Tirana. A representative from the Canadian Embassy desactivated the first box of 15 fragmentation mines under the supervision of the Director of the ULP-Mjekës explosives factory near Elbasan. The 1.6 million mines in the stockpile must be destroyed before February 2004 as an obligation of Article 4 of the Ottawa Treaty.
This is the first demilitarisation project to be implemented under the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund. The Government of Canada is sponsoring the project through its representatives at NATO HQ and is funding the project in conjunction with the governments of Austria, Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
NATO's PfP Trust Fund was established in September 2000 to assist countries in the destruction of their anti-personnel mines and other stockpiled munitions. The NATO Maintenance and Supply Organisation (NAMSA) is the executing agency for the Trust Fund, and is coordinating the work to destroy the mines in Albania.
The mines will be destroyed in an environmentally responsible manner. The high explosive filling will be reprocessed into civilian explosives for use in construction projects and the metal mine bodies and other components will be smelted for reuse in non-military applications.
The project will be completed in mid April 2002.